News article

Awards ceremony marks exceptional contribution to policing in Devon

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Officers, staff and volunteers recognised

Devon & Cornwall Police recognised police officers, staff and volunteers for their exceptional contribution to policing across Exeter, East and Mid Devon at an awards ceremony on Wednesday 19 June 2019.

The ceremony, which took place at Exeter Guildhall, saw a total of 22 people recognised who were presented with awards in the company of family and friends.

The commendations were presented by Chief Superintendent Sam de Reya and Superintendent Matthew Lawler following nominations from officers, staff and partners. 

Local dignitaries in attendance included the Deputy Lord Mayor of Exeter, the Mayors of Cullompton, Honiton, Ottery St Mary and Crediton as well as Councillors from Tiverton and Sidmouth.  

Chief Superintendent Sam de Reya said: “It is incredibly humbling to present these awards to our officers, staff, volunteers and partners and is certainly one of the best parts of my job. 

“The passion, resilience and dedication displayed by those recognised at the awards is outstanding. Our people work tirelessly to prevent crime, detect offences, support victims and bring offenders to justice and it is right we recognise them for their contribution to keeping our communities safe.” 

The full list of awards included:

Chief Superintendent’s Commendations

DC Anette Goodland

On 24th September 2017 in Tiverton, Devon, a man had ammonia thrown into his face causing serious lasting damage to his eyesight. DC Goodland’s dedication to the investigation, patience & commitment to the victim’s needs are acknowledged by the prosecuting barrister who commented:

“Annette Goodland is the OIC in this case and she deserves to be commended, in my view, for her commitment to investigating and preparing this case for trial. She has done an enormous amount of work - far beyond what might be expected. She has also spotted potential issues and displayed great ingenuity with the proposals she has made to resolve them. She has also skilfully managed a very demanding and challenging complainant, who could easily have refused to cooperate and caused the whole prosecution to collapse.”

The case was finalised in Crown Court on 12 October 2018 where the suspect was sentenced to nine and a half years with an extended licence of up to 12 years.

Annette’s determination, professionalism, perseverance and indomitable spirit ultimately provided the victim with the justice he was seeking and has removed an extremely dangerous individual from our communities for a substantial period.

PC Frances Custance

The victim was carrying out building works alone at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Honiton when he was stabbed and killed in an unprovoked violent attack by a male offender. 

PC Custance was first on scene at the incident along with paramedics. At the Kingdom Hall they located a man with a knife embedded into his neck. Not knowing if the offender was still on scene or anyone else injured, PC Custance bravely searched the building for other people. PC Custance also assisted paramedics and secured the scene while awaiting backup from other officers. 

PC Custance showed selflessness and bravery. The suspect was charged with murder.

PCSO Ben Turner

In July 2018, Ben was awarded £3,000 for his idea of connecting with students of the University of Exeter and the city more generally. The idea was to support Exeter’s Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) by marking the pavements and placing supporting signage around the city centre. The project ran during the University’s Freshers’ week, a time which sees over 20,000 students return to the city.  

During the week, the boundary became scenes of multi-agency collaboration, as police, university, council and charity staff worked together to speak with students and reduce alcohol coming into the city centre. The project was aimed at promoting key safety messages and how the PSPO fits into wider policing. 

As a result, it was the first time in six years where the council had no residents contact them to make a complaint. The University’s Head of Security shared statistics indicating a 40 per cent reduction in some of their key demand indicators. 

PCSO Nic Unsworth

On 8 August 2018 while off duty, Nic was enjoying a beach day with his family at the River Otter Beach, Devon.

As the afternoon turned to early evening, it became apparent that something was going wrong; there were two children in a dinghy in the sea, which appeared to be rapidly drifting out. People on the beach had made their way into the sea, which was becoming choppier as the wind was picking up. There was a sense of panic starting to develop as people came to realise that the two children in the dinghy were in danger.

Without hesitation, Nic took to his canoe and entered the water. Competing with a significant current, Nic made good speed to get to the children, exerting considerable effort. Once there he was able to calm the children, give them clear instructions and bring them safely back to the shore.

Such action is characteristic of Nic’s selflessness; a quality which he has displayed in abundance in his many years of police service.

Superintendent’s Certificates

Mrs Lesley Dyer

The victim was carrying out building works alone at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Honiton when he was stabbed and killed in an unprovoked attack by a male offender. The victim sustained stab wounds to the chest and to the neck. Mrs Dyer (formerly DC Carroll) attended the incident, obtained witness statements and assisted with the search of the suspect’s home address.

The ‘one team’ approach to the incident meant that evidence was secured, witness details and accounts obtained, the offender arrested and fast-track actions completed. The offender was charged with murder.

Mr Andreas Bush

On the 26 December 2017, PC Bush attended the tragic suicide of a female. Dealing with a suicide is a significant incident requiring care and sensitivity. In this instance the officers also had to communicate with a distraught husband who spoke very little English. His three children had also just lost their mother at Christmas.  The officer dealt with the death message and arranged for the children to go into the care of relatives.

It will have been impossible to make this a positive situation for the family but the conduct of the officers mitigated any additional trauma associated with the presence of a professional agency at this time of immense sadness. The officers skill, compassion and resilience in dealing with the situation, so professionally, is worthy of recognition as exceptional.

PC Donna Kennedy, PC Phil Skedgell, Annabel Hawkins, Alison Corner

During an extended period of increased demand and compromised resourcing, the Exeter and North Devon Integrated Offender Management Turnaround Team responded with energy and drive to ensure they successfully managed a high volume of prolific offenders.

Undaunted by the enormity of the task, the team comprehensively and cohesively worked together to ensure prolific offenders were effectively supervised, maintaining the fine balance between supporting chaotic individuals, and where necessary ensuring justice is upheld.

Each member of the team has acted with enthusiasm and self-motivation, demonstrating commendable flexibility with a strategic awareness of the Force mission to ensure best delivery of service to the public, and reducing offending during this time.

PC James Dalley, PC Daniel Toomey, PC Mark Edwards

PC Dalley, PC Toomey, and PC Edwards came to the aid of a colleague who was in the process of pulling a heavily intoxicated female from the edge of 250ft cliffs in Exmouth. The woman was there with the intention of ending her life. Without any regard for their own personal safety, the officers moved beyond the area of safety and helped their colleague pull her safely from the edge. Despite the woman violently resisting on the edge of the cliff, they acted without fear, successfully bringing the female back from the edge. Their brave actions, professionalism and intervention saved the woman’s life.

PC Suzie Quinton

On 22 January 2018, PC Quinton and PCSO Willis located a female on the edge of the cliff in an emotionally agitated depressed and suicidal sate. She was drinking vodka from a water bottle and was on the very edge of the cliff; at very real risk of falling off it.

PC Quinton engaged the female, who would only talk to a female and PCSO Willis withdrew but maintained contact and was able to provide a narrative of events. PC Quinton spoke to the female for over an hour before a negotiator arrived who then continued talking to her once they had made use of the advice passed by PC Quinton. The female was eventually talked to safety, preventing loss of life and allowing her a chance to access support and help.

PC Christopher Warfield

PC Warfield attended a report of a distressed female in the water at Exmouth seafront on the evening of the 28 September 2018.  Upon arrival PC Warfield and other officers located a pile of clothes opposite the Premier Inn hotel. Officers then saw a female in the water up to her neck. It was clear that the female was not in a clear state of mind and refused to come out of the water. There were no RNLI units present. Officers were concerned that the female would be swept away be the strong currents if they did not take immediate action. PC Warfield then removed his personal protective equipment and entered the water to rescue the female. The female resisted being brought to shore but PC Warfield managed to get her back on dry land.  An ambulance arrived to treat the female and she was subsequently arrested for assaulting another officer.

PC Warfield displayed tremendous bravery and conduct during this challenging incident.

Mr Adrian Johns

In the early hours of Sunday 22 April 2018, a female was walking home from Tiverton High Street towards Collipriest when she was attacked by an unknown man.  She was forced to the ground and assaulted. The attacker made off from the scene.  Mr Johns, a civilian CCTV operator, worked tirelessly to give the investigation team a starting point.  He identified the unknown man’s movement and worked towards giving police a location which led to arrest.  

The investigation would not have succeeded without the commitment and effort shown by Mr Johns.

NPCC Certificate of Recognition

Supt Matthew Lawler

Awarded for contribution to the creation of the National Neighbourhood Policing Guidelines 2018.



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