Durham officers given top customer service awards

 03/12/2018

Three Durham Constabulary officers have won top customer service awards.

PCs Aaron O’Roarty and Dave Clark and PCSO Christopher Jung beat hundreds of nominees to win trophies in The WOW! Awards held at the Tower of London on Friday, November 30.

Two more officers, PC Claire McNaney and PCSO Lisa Hall also reached the final after being nominated for excellent customer service.

Durham response officers Aaron O’Roarty and Dave Clark won the award for ‘Customer Experience Team of the Year’ after they were praised by a man’s father for “going the extra mile” when they reunited him with his son who they found disorientated and miles away from home in Durham City.

The man had slept rough for three days after he missed his train stop at Leeds and was stranded in the city with no money or food. Local hotel staff raised concerns for the man, a recovering alcoholic, and the PCs took him to hospital. Following treatment, officers contacted his family and then transported him to the station where they negotiated free train travel. The PCs ensured he boarded the train and staff provided him with food and drinks. PC O'Roarty stayed on duty to confirm with the man’s father that he had collected his son safely. The father later got in touch to thank officers for their "due diligence, care and attention.”

PC O’Roarty said: “It was an absolute honour to receive this award and for our force to be recognised. Although I had the privilege to be presented with it, it’s one example out of hundreds happening week in week out. It’s very much for every member of Durham Constabulary whether it be police staff, police officers, PCSOs, special constables or volunteers who go the extra mile every day to deliver the Durham difference.”

Darlington PCSO Christopher Jung took the top spot in the ‘WOW! You’ve Changed My Life’ category after he helped a grieving brother secure a gardening plot to pursue his passion for all things horticultural. This gesture had helped the youngster deal with his sister’s death.

PC Claire McNaney from the Harm Reduction Unit was also nominated in the same category after she helped a reformed addict become an educator who shares his experiences with police officers and students across the country.

George Charlton now works alongside PC McNaney to deliver drug and alcohol training. He said: “From the second I met Claire, she made me feel not like an addict but an equal. She listened to my story with real interest, showed respect and compassion for the journey I had been on and made me feel like I was in the company of someone who genuinely cared. She makes everyone feel like this. My life has changed in ways I would never have dreamed of because of this police officer.”

PCSO Lisa Hall was nominated for an ‘Inspirational Individual’ award following her work around autism within the force.

She was nominated by Louise Brown, of south Durham, after PCSO Hall attended her home after an emergency call and met her son with autism. She said: “Lisa has been amazing. The support she has given my family has helped us through some very tricky times. My son had a very difficult month and the police had to come to our home. All the officers were understanding and made my son feel much better but Lisa took it further and organised for him to go on a tour of police HQ. This has helped him so much. It boosted his self-esteem and confidence which was very low and impacting heavily on his mental health. She now attends TAF meetings with me and the support she is giving to us is brilliant. She has helped me through some very dark upsetting times better and I am very thankful for her ongoing support. The work she is doing for autism awareness can only make life for autistic children and adults better and I am forever grateful for that.”

Deputy Chief Constable Jo Farrell said: “These nominations are examples of the professionalism and care shown by our uniformed officers a daily basis, which usually go unrewarded. This puts into perspective what we take for granted - the police don't walk away and our officers do their utmost to protect and safeguard people.”