Awards honour long service and bravery - Hertfordshire


Police officers, members of the Special Constabulary and members of the public were honoured at an awards ceremony at Hertfordshire Constabulary Headquarters in Welwyn Garden City on Thursday, 04 October 2012.

Police officers, members of the Special Constabulary, and members of the public were honoured at an awards ceremony at Hertfordshire Constabulary Headquarters in Welwyn Garden City on Thursday, 04 October 2012.

The awards were presented by Baljit Ubhey OBE, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). She said: "It is a privilege to be the guest of honour at Hertfordshire Constabulary's awards evening.  It gives me great pleasure to recognise and celebrate the long service, achievement, and bravery of members of the Criminal Justice Services and the public in this way.  I would like to convey my congratulations to all the recipients of the awards.  Each and every one of them has made a significant contribution to the safety of our community."

Before the awards were presented, a minute's silence was held in memory of PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes who were killed in Manchester last month.

Long Service and Good Conduct Medal:

The Long Service and Good Conduct Medal recognises the dedication of officers who have 20-years' service.

Those officers receiving the medal were:

  • Detective Constable Claire Baldwin, who works with the joint Major Crime Unit at Headquarters in Welwyn Garden City and lives in Hemel Hempstead.
  • Inspector Chris Hunt who lives and works in Bishop's Stortford where he is the local Safer Neighbourhood Inspector.
  • 44-year-old Detective Constable Jo-Anne Kerr who lives in Hertford and works in the joint Major Crime Unit at Headquarters in Welwyn Garden City.
  • 41-year-old Chief Inspector Stuart Orton who works at Headquarters in Welwyn Garden City and lives in Hertford.
  • 45-year-old Detective Constable Andrew Speller who works at Headquarters in Welwyn Garden City and lives in Stotfold, Bedfordshire.

Special Constabulary Long Service:

Members of the Special Constabulary are also honoured for their Long Service. Specials are people who generously give their time to work alongside regular officers and play an active and vital role in tackling crime and maintaining public safety.

58-year-old Mahesh Paul Thapar, who is based at Hitchin Police Station and lives in St Ippolyts was honoured for 39-years' service.

Hertfordshire Constabulary Award:

The Hertfordshire Constabulary Award is a prestigious award given to members of the public for 'meritorious and public spirited action', which is of great assistance to the police or the community.

Two Hertfordshire Constabulary Awards were presented:

The first was to 43-year-old Jay Huxtable, who lives in Berkhamsted. He was honoured for his actions during a fire at a block of flats, which he came across as he left the building for work at around 5.45am on Sunday, 19 February 2012.

He attempted to enter the property without thought for his own safety, but the fire had already taken hold. He then returned to his own flat to get some wet towels before going into the flat to ensure no-one was in there. He also helped evacuate people before the Fire and Rescue Service arrived.

Jay's courageous actions ensured that no one suffered injury as a result of the fire. He had no way of knowing that the flat on fire was in fact unoccupied, but clearly he had been quite prepared to put his own life at risk.

Jay was also subsequently able to assist in the identification of the offender who was later convicted of arson with intent to endanger life.

The second was to 48-year-old Martin Spackman who lives in Ware. At about 4pm on Friday, 20 April 2012, he was driving his tractor in Dane End when he passed an isolated residential property. He noticed a suspicious vehicle and approached the house.

As he walked along the driveway towards the house he saw two further men running across the lawn towards the car. He attempted to prevent them leaving the scene whilst calling the police. Officers attended and it was confirmed that the house had been burgled. As a direct result of Mr Spackman's information the two men who ran off were arrested a short time later.

The two men have been dealt with in the courts and the Judge commented on Mr Spackman's actions, stating that had he not acted as he did the offence may not have been detected.

Royal Humane Society Award:

A Royal Humane Society Award was presented to 22-year-old Special Constable Giles Cooper, who is based at Bishop's Stortford and lives in Sawbridgeworth. The Royal Humane Society is a charity that grants awards for acts of bravery in the saving of human life, and also for the restoration of life by resuscitation.  The Society may also give recognition to those who have contributed to the saving, or attempted saving, of life, though they may not have put their own life at risk.

On Wednesday, 28 December 2011, Mr Walter Kerley was walking past Bishop's Stortford High School when he was seen to start coughing and then collapse. Giles was off duty at the time and went to assist members of the public who had also stopped to help Mr Kerley.

Giles assessed Mr Kerley's condition and ascertained that he wasn't breathing. He asked other members of the public to call for an ambulance and immediately started CPR. This was maintained until the ambulance arrived and although he was taken to hospital, sadly Mr Kerley failed to recover.

The attempt to resuscitate Mr Kerley is nevertheless recognised by the Royal Humane Society and by his son Mr David Kerley and his wife Patricia who attended the awards ceremony to add their personal thanks to Giles.

In further recognition of his efforts Giles was also awarded a Chief Constable's Commendation.

Chief Constable's Commendation:

43-year-old Metropolitan Police Sergeant John MaCaninch, who lives in Cheshunt and works in Islington, was presented with a Chief Constable's Commendation in respect of a case of serious grievous bodily harm, which occurred at an address in Cheshunt on Saturday, 14 May 2011.

Whilst off-duty, John was woken by the sound of a woman screaming.  He went to investigate and located the victim and an offender.  John was able to restrain the offender, but had to endure his continuing aggression and violence until other police officers arrived.

The offender was forced to plead guilty due to the weight of the evidence and was sentenced to 7-years imprisonment with a life time restraining order.

At the conclusion of the trial, Judge Plumstead commented very favourably on the conduct of Sergeant John MaCaninch. The judge particularly drew attention to this officer's very brave actions, which in his opinion went above and beyond the call of duty and he asked for John to be commended for them.

Deputy Chief Constable Andy Adams closed the evening by saying: "It is important that we properly recognise the commitment and achievements of our staff and members of the public and tonight has enabled us to do that. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the importance of teamwork involving not only our colleagues here tonight but the many other fine men and women who work alongside them."

For more information and photographs please contact Sarah Spence, Senior Press and PR Officer at Hertfordshire Constabulary on 01707 354039.