Matthew Scott is Guest of Honour at Chief Constable's Awards night
The Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott was Guest of Honour as Kent Police officers and staff were commended by the Chief Constable for their efforts in protecting vulnerable people.
Between them, four detectives and a call handler provided vital assistance to a distressed man and protected multiple children from sexual exploitation – securing custodial sentences of more than 40 years in the process.
Seven members of the public who helped an agitated woman on a bridge were also praised at the ceremony, which took place at the Kent Police College on Tuesday 21 November.
Mr Scott said:
In July 2017 off duty Police Constable David Saunders, from the Medway Local Policing Team, and member of the public Fiona Turner (both pictured above) helped locate a missing woman, with officers concerned for welfare.
‘It was an honour for me to attend the Chief Constable’s Awards Ceremony.
‘Every member of the Kent Police family – officers, staff and volunteers – sets out to give a first class service to the public but there are times when individuals and teams perform exceptional police work which exceeds even the high standards the force expects of them.
‘It is entirely right these people are recognised and I personally thank them for all they have done.
'We often hear it said that police officers run towards danger so that others can get to safety, yet tonight we have heard instances of extraordinary members of the public risking their own safety to help vulnerable people.
‘It was humbling to hear of their live-saving interventions and, on behalf of their fellow residents; I pay tribute to them as well.’
While on duty PC Saunders attempted to speak with the woman using a mobile phone but did not receive a response until he was off duty. She stated she had taken a quantity of tablets but would not disclose her location.
He kept her on the phone for 40 minutes and while this was going on Ms Turner called 999 to pass on crucial information.
Between them they established she was staying at a hotel in Ramsgate and the woman was convinced to leave her door slightly open so that ambulance crews could enter. She was then taken to a local hospital to treatment and received support from mental health services.
In June 2017 call handler Karendeep Khaira, who was new in service, found herself involved in a call that would have challenged even the most experienced of call takers. A distressed man had phoned the control room stating he intended to take his own life.
PSE Khaira however was able to build a good rapport with the male and managed to establish a dialogue to build his trust. She stayed on shift for an extra five hours to keep him talking on the phone and this gave officers and negotiators the time needed to locate him and ensure he received the support he needed.
Three officers from Kent Police’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team worked together to secure a 12 year prison sentence for a man who had been committing serious sexual offences against a young girl.
Detective Constable Mark Bennett became aware of the offending following an investigation into grooming, where he engaged with a suspect online. From these conversations he was to identify a girl who was being subjected to regular, severe abuse and a man was promptly arrested.
Detective Constable Dawn Taylor then took responsibility for reviewing the evidence before Detective Constable Darran Bassett, who worked as the case officer, was able to build a case for the prosecution.
Between them their efforts saved a young girl from ongoing sex abuse and helped secure a custodial sentence of 12 years against the offender, who will serve a further five years on licence. They were each presented with a Certificate of Merit.
Detective Constable Jennifer Brightman, from the Thanet Vulnerability Investigation Team, received the Certificate of Merit following two sexual abuse investigations that saw two offenders jailed for a combined 30 years.
In 2016 she took on a case which had seen a young girl be abused by a man on multiple occasions over the previous two years.
The victim was young and extremely vulnerable but DC Brightman was able to build her trust to not only help ensure she got the right support, but also gather enough evidence to bring the offender to justice. The offender was eventually jailed for over 14 years after being charged with nine offences.
DC Brightman also secured a 16 year prison sentence for a case that had previously been discontinued in 2008.
The case was resumed in 2013 and in the coming years she was able to familiarise herself with the circumstances, support the victim, and gain enough evidence to secure a 16 year prison sentence.
Alan Pughsley, Chief Constable of Kent Police, said:
The seven members of the public were presented with the Chief Constable’s Certificate of Merit after they stopped to help a distressed woman on a bridge.
‘I am extremely proud of these officers and staff who have demonstrated outstanding professionalism and dedication.
‘Their endeavours show the different and complex challenges my officers overcome on a daily basis, not only to bring offenders to justice but also safeguard vulnerable people.
‘It is worth noting that these are however just a few examples of the outstanding work ethic and commitment I see from all of my officers and staff on a daily basis. It is these traits that help us secure positive outcomes for the communities we serve.’
In July 2017, Charlotte Vince, Harvie Costello, Chloe Kemp and Danny Orlando were travelling in Common Road, Chatham, (all pictured to the right) with two other people when they noticed a distressed woman on a bridge which crosses the A229 near Blue Bell Hill. They noticed that she was standing on the wrong side of the railings and all four occupants ran over to offer support.
At this point another car, containing Darren Porter, Lewis Fisher and Ibrahim Khwaja, noticed a struggle and also stopped to help.
The woman began to fall from a ledge she was standing on but a member of the group was able to grab her before they each helped each other hold on to the railings until the emergency services arrived.
The woman survived and has received support from mental health services. All seven were presented with a Certificate of Merit.
Chief Constable Pughsley added:
‘These recipients each showed a huge amount of selflessness, courage and citizenship to help protect a vulnerable woman from serious harm.
‘Despite the threat and unpredictability of the situation they found themselves in, their decisive thinking and brave actions may have saved this woman’s life.’