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 Officers and staff celebrated at awards ceremony


​POLICE officers and staff who have gone above and beyond have been presented with commendations.

Chief Constable and Judge’s Commendations were presented at a special ceremony at Durham Constabulary headquarters, which was led by Chief Constable Mike Barton, who retires at the end of the week after 39 years in policing.

Eight police officers and a special constable were also presented with Long Service Medals in recognition of their dedication to their roles. 

Mr Barton said: “It is always a huge honour to present these commendations and Long Service Medals.

“The best bit is seeing the families of the recipients attend the event – some of the younger kids are being inspired by their parents in the job, which is great to see. At this particular event we had a 15-year-old lad who wanted to do some work experience with us, which we arranged there and then.

“So, while there were some oldies there, like myself, the next generation were also there being inspired. What’s not to like?”

Included in the commendations was PC Ryan Harrison, a response officer in Durham City, who was recognised for his efforts in dealing with a sudden death earlier this year. As a probationer, PC Harrison had only been on independent patrol for seven shifts when he attended the incident in which a woman had died in her home.

Attending the incident single crewed, he took control of the scene and remained calm, professional and level headed in what was a very stressful and charged situation.   

Detective Inspector Lee Gosling was also presented with a commendation in recognition for his efforts in ensuring the success of the annual Cops 30 miler challenge. The 30 mile load-bearing ‘yomp’ across the Cheviots is the brainchild of DI Gosling and West Midlands Police Inspector Simon Guilfoyle.

It takes place every year to raise money for the Care of Police Survivors Charity, which helps families of police officers who have lost their lives on duty rebuild their lives, and the Royal Marines Charity. Last year’s event raised £12,000, with the officers on target the beat that figure this year.

DI Gosling was also awarded a Judge’s Commendation for leading a complex enquiry into an attempted murder, which saw two men sentenced to a total of 33 years in prison. Prosecuting counsel acknowledged that there had been a huge amount of work carried out by the investigation team both during the investigation and as the trial progressed. They stated that without this degree of dedication, the outcome could have been very different.          

Durham City response officers, PCs Daniel Cuthbertson and Martin Nicholson received commendations for their bravery and professionalism when called to a domestic dispute between a man and his partner. After a lengthy discussion with the man, he lashed out at the officers, fracturing PC Cuthbertson’s cheek and eye socket. Both officers used their CS spray and arrested the man, who has since received a custodial sentence.

PC Steve Brown, from Shildon Neighbourhood Police Team, was praised for his dedication in ensuring a fraudster who conned an elderly man out of his life savings was brought to justice. During the investigation, PC Brown built up a strong relationship with the victim, who was initially reluctant to engage with the police. As a result of PC Brown’s persistence, the defendant was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison, given 240 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £5,000 in compensation to the victim.

Chester-le-Street PCSOs Adrian Richards and Brian Donnelly received commendations for their dedication to problem-solving in their communities, while Detective Constable Andrea Wearmouth was commended for her investigative skills which were instrumental in ensuring that a serious sexual predator was convicted and sentenced to 32 years in prison.

Eight officers who have served for the past 20 years were presented with Long Service Medals. They were: PC Tony Burgess, PC Scott Crowhurst, Sergeant Julie Fox, PC Steven Minns, PC Louise Rex, PC Richard Scott, DC Steven Smith and PC Graeme Thompson.

Special Sergeant James Palmer, who has served with the Special Constabulary for nine years, was also awarded a Long Service Medal.