Commendations for Peterborough police officers for acts of "dogged determination"

Peterborough police officers have been among those to receive awards at The Chief Superintendents’ Commendations on Thursday (June 30).

By Ben Jones
Sunday, 3rd July 2022, 11:00 am
PCSO Kamila Rowe.
PCSO Kamila Rowe.

Convicting a violent domestic abuser, coordinating the Covid-19 response and preventing a man from taking his own life were just some of the acts of determination, hard work and bravery praised at the force ceremony held at police headquarters in Huntingdon.

Chief Superintendents Mark Greenhalgh and Becky Tipping hosted the event and praised officers and staff for their determined investigations and outstanding achievements.Chief Supt Greenhalgh said: “This afternoon is about celebrating the loyalty and dedication you have shown to the organisation and the public in your role. Going that extra mile is something I am, and indeed you should be, enormously proud of.

“You have dedicated your time to ensure people’s safety, put your own lives at risk to help others and gone above and beyond for the people of Cambridgeshire.

Detective Constable Fiona Bagshaw.

“My thanks also go to your family and friends who have supported you as you do great work - something which is often overlooked. After a particularly challenging two years both in policing and the wider world, I am sure they are all immensely proud of what you’ve achieved.

“It has been quite overwhelming to read the stories of outstanding commitment, perseverance and bravery in difficult circumstances and to each and every one of you, I say thank you.”

Below are just some of the achievements Peterborough officers and staff were commended for:

Protecting a vulnerable victim and securing conviction

Detective Constable Sarah Seston.

Detective Constables Les Ellmer, Fiona Bagshaw and Sarah Seston were commended for their parts in the successful investigation into the rape of a 17-year-old girl.

The vulnerable teenager was attacked in Peterborough in September 2020.

There was good CCTV and although the suspect could not be identified, he wore distinctive clothing and the victim had given an excellent description.

DC Ellmer and DC Bagshaw were assigned CCTV enquiries. They were not happy with just viewing the CCTV but drove around the offence location, trying to “make their own luck”. Several hours into the day, DC Bagshaw identified the suspect, Christy Stokes, 41, walking in the street. He ran but was caught and arrested by DC Ellmer.

This excellent work by DCs Ellmer and Bagshaw, prevented many more officer hours and expense from going into the case and there is the possibility the suspect may never have been apprehended.

Stokes was charged and DC Sarah Seston took over the investigation and preparation for court. Her communication skills and compassion ensured the victim remained engaged, and she often provided reassurance and support on her days off. She built a rapport with the victim, whose confidence in the police and legal system increased significantly.

DC Seston painstakingly compiled a comprehensive presentation for court that precisely annotated and explained the chronology of the CCTV and ensured the narrative was crystal clear for the jury.

Stokes was jailed for eight-and-a-half years in May last year.

The hard work and dedication of these officers resulted in an extremely dangerous individual being taken off the streets.

Preserving life

PCSOs Kamila Rowe and Lorraine Moore were driving along the busy A1139 in Peterborough in their patrol car when they saw a man sitting on the outer side of a bridge.

They called in the incident and went to the man who was already being held by a member of the public.

Without hesitation they also got hold of the man and then used their patrol car to block the side of the carriageway under him.

While Lorraine continued to hold the man, Kamila took charge of the scene, making sure the area was clear and safe for passers-by. She also alerted oncoming traffic and was noticed by a lorry driver, who kindly stopped underneath the bridge so the man would fall onto his trailer, not the road.

Soon after, police officers arrived and managed to pull the man back over the railings.

These former PCSOs were commended for their courage, compassion and commitment to protecting an extremely vulnerable man and potentially other members of the public. They willingly and bravely put themselves in danger to save this man’s life.

Managing the Covid 19 response

The Outbreak Management Team worked tirelessly to reduce the risk to staff posed by Covid 19 and provided a consistent approach across the force, striving to minimise the impact of the pandemic.

Between them, the 12-strong team of officers processed more than 1000 cases, involving some complex contact tracing requirements and made difficult decisions, which directly affected work lives, home lives and the liberties of staff and their wider families.

This work considerably reduced infections in the workplace, potentially saving staff and their families from the illness. They helped reduce staff anxiety by answering a wide range of queries and providing consistent messaging and information.

Team members changed their shift patterns at short notice and worked long hours to ensure outbreaks were contained, reducing large-scale losses of front-line staff, especially during the Christmas outbreak.

They also put themselves at greater personal risk of infection at face-to-face testing stations, which identified Covid positive staff, and worked rest days to ensure mass testing of staff was possible before large-scale operations.

These officers are commended for their tireless commitment, in challenging circumstances, to ensuring the impact of the pandemic on the force was kept to a minimum.

The full list of commendations from across the force can be found on the Cambridgeshire Constabulary website.