Laughter and cheer filled the air as policing heroes were recognised from across Avon and Somerset, at this year’s Be Proud Awards held at Cadbury House Hotel in Congresbury on Thursday, May 17, 2018.
The awards, jointly hosted by Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens and Avon and Somerset Constabulary, rewarded 19 individuals and six teams for their hard work in ensuring the communities of Avon and Somerset are safe and feel safe.
BBC Radio Bristol’s Emma Britton compered the evening and Olympian, Amy Williams MBE, presenter Carol Vorderman MBE and comedian Stephen Merchant helped begin the night by sending their well wishes to the finalists via video, before the ceremony commenced.
During the evening, they also took the time to pay tribute to one of Avon and Somerset’s most loved volunteers, Bob Eastaugh or ‘Crimefighter Bob’ as he was affectionately known. Bob spent many years volunteering to make our communities safer and sadly passed away earlier this year. His wife, Anne and son, Mark attended to accept an award on his behalf.
PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “I always consider it a privilege to be in a room with so many inspirational, selfless and dedicated people. To everyone who works relentlessly to support the policing effort, you make such a difference, thank you to all of you.
“The Be Proud Awards are really important to us because the nominations come from members of the public, internal colleagues and external partners. I want to thank everyone who took the time to contact us with your compliments and nominations.
“To everyone who was nominated, all of this year’s finalists and to our overall Avon and Somerset winners, I wish you sincere congratulations.”
Chief Constable Andy Marsh said: Chief Constable Andy Marsh said: “The Be Proud awards recognise some of our unsung heroes who have done remarkable work and it was great to take the time to celebrate their achievements.
“These awards are a tribute to every police officer, staff member and volunteer within Avon and Somerset who show commitment to making a difference in our communities.
“Hearing stories like the ones this evening inspire me every day. I don’t take it for granted and I am proud to lead such dedicated and professional teams.”
Earlier this year, over 230 nominations came in from far and wide across Avon and Somerset outlining the commitment and dedication of police officers, response officers, members of staff, special constables, investigative officers, specialist operations, volunteers and teams.
Across eight categories, finalists were chosen to attend the ceremony to be presented with certificates by the PCC and Chief Constable. Towards the end of the night the overall winners for Avon and Somerset in their categories were announced:
Neighbourhood Officer of the Year – PC Ross Calderwood
Ross was nominated for his ‘refreshing approach to his role as a beat manager’ in South Gloucestershire. He is relentless in addressing criminality, improving public safety by targeting the most wanted and outstanding offenders and supporting his local residents.
On being presented with his award by one of our sponsors, Geraint Evans from Hobs, PC Ross Calderwood said: “I feel really proud to have been nominated and I’m also grateful to receive the support for what I am doing from the management team.”
Response Officer of the Year – PC Joseph Iles
Joe is an officer that has a really positive attitude towards serving the public and obtaining justice for victims. Joe is also infamous for his regular tweeting, which helps keep his followers updated on policing matters in across the area.
Bristol based Joe was presented his award by Chief Constable Andy Marsh and on receiving the award said: “The award was completely unexpected, but an incredible honour. It’s a reflection of the work both myself and my colleagues do on a daily basis to help our communities be safe and feel safe.”
Investigator of the Year – DC Lorraine Welsh
Lorraine Welsh was nominated for her excellent investigative ability and set a high standard when dealing with a very difficult case. Her dedication to this case not only resulted in a dangerous offender sentenced for 24 years, but saw the standard of her files receive praise from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
This award was presented to Lorraine by the CPS’ Senior Crown Prosecutor for Rape and Serious Sexual Offences, Lesley Ness. On receiving the award Lorraine said: “It is a real privilege to accept this award as an acknowledgement of the great work of investigations teams across the force.”
Police Staff Member of the Year – Helen Cuthbert
Helen, a criminal justice case builder, is nominated for her role in a complex drug file. Helen worked diligently with the officer in charge of the case and the CPS to bring nine offenders to justice.
On receiving her award from David Darch of sponsor BT, Helen said: “It is great to be recognised but the truth is, I love my job. If you enjoy what you do, it’s not hard work. I feel proud we got a great result and I supported the officer in the case – it was great teamwork.”
Police Support Volunteer of the Year – Jennifer Hill
Jennifer has volunteered with the Constabulary for over five years and whose help during that time has been invaluable. More recently Jennifer has become a volunteer restorative justice facilitator, yet still finds time to co-ordinate her local neighbourhood watch.
Jennifer was presented the award by Mrs Anne Eastaugh who presented the award in memory of her late husband ‘Crimefighter’ Bob Eastaugh. Jennifer said: “It’s nice to think that Constabulary colleagues really respect you and see what you do, even it if is behind the scenes. It is a lovely honour.”
Special Constable of the Year – Tony Millington
Special Constable Tony Millington, who is based in Thornbury, is described as a ‘great asset to the beat team’ in the area. During his time with the team he has worked hard to tackle drug crime, vehicle crime, anti-social behaviour and other community concerns.
Tony received her award from David Farrell, Chief Officer of the Special Constabulary. On receiving the award Tony said: “I can only do what I do because of the team. I’m proud to be a part of it and to provide that link between the force and the community.”
Specialist Operations Award – Operation Blueline
Operation Blueline sees neighbourhood policing making a difference by listening and responding to the community and dealing with drug dealers who destroy lives. The Operation Blueline team recently featured in BBC3’s documentary – Drugsland.
The Operation Blueline team were presented their award by sponsor SEA’s Steve Hill. Police Sergeant Chris Green, speaking on behalf of the team said: “This recognises the lengths that police officers go to, to keep our communities safe and to do the right thing. This award shows the team the long shifts and late nights were worthwhile and for the right reasons.”
Policing Team of the Year – HQ Operational Planning
The HQ Operational Planning team are responsible for keeping the communities of Avon and Somerset safe during major events. Over the course of the past year, the team have logistically supported Glastonbury, the Balloon Fiesta, military events, royal visits and the response to a rise in the counter-terrorism threat level amongst others.
After receiving their award from PCC Sue Mountstevens and a special video message from Michael Eavis, on behalf of the team, Inspector Rob Millican said: “We were really surprised to win, there were lots of deserving nominees but this recognises the hard work from all the members of the team who have worked their socks off, often behind the scenes. It is great to get this recognition.”
The Be Proud Awards are only possible thanks to our proud partners including Unison, BT, Double Tree Hilton Cadbury House, Deloitte, AN: Event Services, Xerox, Hobs, Medlock Charitable Trust, Western Daily Press and SEA.