Police officers, including those who helped to locate a missing man and then provided vital first aid, have been presented with awards for their contribution to policing and their communities in west Kent.

Awards 1 - PS Scott, PC Snoek and PC Kyle Andrews .jpg

From left to right, Kent High Sheriff Nadra Ahmed CBE, PS Paul Scott, PC Lauren Snoek, PC Kyle Andrews, and West Kent Divisional Commander Chief Superintendent Neil Loudon

Sergeant Paul Scott, PC Kyle Andrews, and PC Lauren Snoek carried out Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) enquiries that led to the swift discovery of the missing man in the Maidstone area on 14 June 2023. They then worked as a team to perform life-saving resuscitation on him until ambulance crews arrived. Thanks to their quick-thinking, the man went on to make a recovery under a hospital’s care.

West Kent Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Neil Loudon presented PS Scott, PC Andrews, and PC Snoek with the Divisional Commander’s Award at the Kent Police College, on Monday 13 November 2023.

Awards 2 - PC Grace Hedges, PC Sophie Taylor and PC Alex Dawood.jpg

From left to right, Kent High Sheriff Nadra Ahmed CBE, PC Grace Hedges, PC Sophie Taylor, PC Alex Dawood, and West Kent Divisional Commander Chief Superintendent Neil Loudon

A total of 60 officers, staff, and volunteers were recognised at a ceremony which was also attended by the Kent High Sheriff Nadra Ahmed CBE.

Other Divisional Commander’s Awards:

After a former pupil had the courage to speak out in 2019, Russell Tillson, aged 73, was jailed for five years and eight months on 1 September for six sexual offences against young pupils within his care at a school in Tonbridge.

Detective Constable Josh Gearing persevered to thoroughly investigate Tillson’s teaching career and identified two further victims. Given the sensitive nature of the crimes DC Gearing worked carefully to gain the trust and confidence of the victims to build a case and bring their abuser to justice.

Awards 3 - DC Joshua Gearing and PC Ben Startin.jpg

From left to right, DC Joshua Gearing and PC Ben Startin

PC Nick Hubbard spearheaded a successful campaign to target prolific shoplifters in Sevenoaks. Many of those convicted were issued with Community Behaviour Orders (CBOs) to prevent re-offending.

Another of PC Hubbard’s campaigns also identified a pattern of offences relating to theft from motor vehicles. These suspects were arrested, charged, and brought before the courts, bringing their crime spree in its tracks.

On 1 April 2023, PC Lewis Mitchell was off duty at South Kensington underground station in London, when he came across an unconscious person on the platform.

PC Mitchell identified himself to their friends as a police officer and administered CPR until ambulance crews arrived.

It was later established that they had suffered a cardiac arrest and, without the intervention of PC Mitchell, it may have proved fatal.

Upon locating a missing teenager, who was threatening to jump from a bridge in Otford on 1 July, PC Lee Bunclark focused his efforts on ensuring relevant road closures were in place to protect the safety of the girl, his colleagues, and members of the public.

By swiftly securing the perimeter, his colleagues, PC Alex Dawood, PC Sophie Taylor, and PC Grace Hedges, were able to concentrate on moving the young woman away from harm and helping her access the support she needed.

Confronting violence

Chief Supt Loudon also recognised the bravery of officers, staff, and volunteers in confronting violence and dangerous situations.

On 23 March 2022, PC Ben Startin was off duty in the Staplehurst area when he was alerted to three men causing a disturbance at a neighbouring property.

Upon entering the street, PC Startin saw a person being chased by another man who was carrying a hammer.

PC Startin identified himself as a police officer and ordered the suspect to back down, giving two injured parties a chance to move to safety.

Awards 5 - PC Lewis Mitchell and PC Nick Hubbard.jpg

From left to right, PC Lewis Mitchell and PC Nick Hubbard

Bravery, perseverance, and professionalism

West Kent Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Neil Loudon, said:

‘Every day, Kent Police officers, staff, and volunteers face unpredictable and potentially dangerous situations while on-duty and often intervene in circumstances when off-duty, to protect the vulnerable and provide the best possible service.

‘This event provided the perfect opportunity to highlight the outstanding bravery, perseverance, and professionalism shown by our personnel across west Kent.

‘Every officer, staff member, and volunteer in receipt of an award has shown their admirable capability to remain calm and composed in stressful situations, demonstrating excellent communication skills and compassion for victims and members of the public.

‘It is only right that the outstanding contributions from all tonight’s award recipients are recognised.’

By Ed

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