The efforts of officers, staff, Specials, cadets and volunteers from across Bedfordshire were recognised at the Force Annual Awards Ceremony, held at The Sharnbrook Hotel on Wednesday (5 June).
The winners of the 14 award categories were celebrated during the awards evening, which was hosted by our Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire. Awards and certificates were handed to winners, with the support of a number of our key partners.
Among the awards was the PC Jon Henry Shield which is handed out every year to an officer who has carried out an exceptional act of bravery. This year’s winner was PC Chris Willcox-Cassidy, a probationary officer, who was in the process of taking a statement from a vulnerable woman when she picked up a kitchen knife and threatened to harm herself.
Chris immediately recognised the seriousness of the situation and tackled the woman, grabbing hold of her arm to prevent the knife being wielded around. All his strength was needed to help diffuse the very volatile situation and ensure the woman was safe, all the while remaining caring and compassionate.
The award is named after PC Jon Henry, who was killed while protecting the public during an incident in Luton almost 12 years ago.
Inspector David Minney was awarded for his outstanding contribution with over 23 years’ service as a trained ‘Oscar 1’ managing our force contact centre, and a total of 36 years in the force altogether. He is considered by the force as an expert in Counter Terrorism-related issues and has spent numerous hours of his own time ensuring all Public Contact Staff are trained in these types of incidents.
The night was an opportunity to highlight the amazing work carried out by all in the force, including Investigation Officer Gary Hales who received an award for ‘thinking outside the box’ with his investigative skills when he jailed a man who fled the scene after leaving a victim paralysed during a car accident.
Cadet Omar Rafiq received the Cadet of the Year award for going above and beyond in what is his dream opportunity. Omar, who is battling illness, is an inspiration to all cadets and members of the force alike. He has completed 63 duties and 240 hours as a cadet and supports those around him assisting them in attaining achievements and embracing the experiences that being a cadet can bring.
We also celebrated our Chief Constable Jon Boutcher on what was his last annual awards evening with Bedfordshire Police.
A key theme of the evening was celebrating the family, friends and colleagues of our officers and staff. Many were present on the night to join in recognising those who have gone over and above what is expected of them, and gone the extra mile in our bid to protect the public and fight crime together.
Chief Constable Boutcher said: “These award ceremonies are the highlight of our year, they are an opportunity to recognise and reward our officers and staff for the outstanding work that they do day in day out. Everyone in Bedfordshire Police regularly goes above and beyond their daily duties to protect the public. Sadly we can’t recognise everyone at an event like this, but we never forget the amazing acts of courage and dedication they all carry out on a daily basis.
“I would like to give special thanks to our families, friends and partners for their support, and also our sponsors who funded this year’s event making it almost cost-neutral. The event also couldn’t take place without those who spent time nominating their colleagues, and all those who helped to organise this fantastic event.”