Awards for special dedication
By The Bristol Post | Friday, June 22, 2012, 05:00
THE efforts of dozens of volunteer officers who help police the streets of Bristol were recognised at an awards evening for members of the special constabulary.
Medals and certificates were awarded to some of the 171 "specials" who give up their free time to support the police force in the city.
The specials, who dedicate hundreds of hours a year to the police as well as carrying out their day jobs, were joined by friends and relatives at the annual parade at the Royal West of England Academy in Clifton last night.
The most prestigious award of the night, the Chief Inspector's Award for Special of the Year, was presented to Steve Jones.
Mr Jones, who works as a bank manager in North Somerset, was singled out for his exceptional work at New Bridewell police station.
He was selected from a four-strong shortlist which included Ryan Cox, Joel Phillips and John Pearce.
DCI Bill Halsey, who presented the award, told the audience Mr Jones had completed 1,500 hours as a special over the last 12 months, which he said was a "phenomenal achievement" as the minimum requirement was 200 hours.
DCI Halsey said Mr Jones was always first to volunteer to go out on jobs, adding that he had made 14 arrests, taken 55 statements, carried out 37 stop and searches, completed 23 drink driving investigations and filed 39 intelligence reports in the last year.
The officer also praised Mr Jones for receiving a district commander's commendation for tackling a violent offender while off-duty in the city centre last year.
He said: "It's been a fantastic achievement over the last 12 months. Well done, Steve."
Mr Jones, 31, who lives in Filton and has worked as a special for two years, said he was surprised to have received the inaugural award.
Explaining why he gives up his time to policing, he said: "It's because there's no other volunteering role like it. I get to see everything a police officer does without it being my main job. You get to see all aspects of people's lives.
"It's not 'like' being a police officer, it is being a police officer. Also, it's an interesting job because every day is different."
He said he had received the district commander's commendation for detaining a man who was becoming violent towards one of his police colleagues, who had been incapacitated following the release of CS spray in August last year.
The Sandy Padgett Award, named in memory of Chief Superintendent Sandy Padgett, who died suddenly in October 2009, was presented to a group of specials who work on the District Focus Team.
The team, which is made up of specials including Matt Ford, Mike Walters, Matt Tilley and Chris Weeks, aims to "seek out Bristol's most wanted", bringing offenders wanted on a warrant to face justice in court.
They were praised for bringing 200 people before the court and working with the British Transport Police to stop people bringing drugs into the city on Friday nights.
Earlier in the evening, all specials were in full uniform for an inspection by DCI Halsey, Chief Supt Jon Stratford and David Farrell, chief of the special constabulary.
Long-service certificates were given to Kelly MacBryde, Chris Weeks and Matt Ford (five years service), Amy Kington (nine years) and Andy Delaney (19 years). Sixteen specials were presented with Jubilee medals for having completed five years by February 6.
Closing the awards ceremony, Chief Supt Stratford said: "We couldn't manage without you. Your contribution is pivotal."