THEY are the pride of the police force whose dedication has made a difference.
Top police work in battling to save lives, fighting crime and improving officer safety has been recognised by Hampshire’s chief constable, Olivia Pinkney.
Awards from Mrs Pinkney were handed out at a ceremony on Friday at Netley training and support headquarters.
Among those were two Cosham-based 999 PCs who saved a three-year-old boy and a PCSO who thwarted a burglary by sitting on the offender.
And Hampshire Police Federation chairman John Apter picked up recognition for a project tackling assaults on police that has already won international acclaim.
Mr Apter, who represents rank-and-file police, has spearheaded major changes in Hampshire police that have led to an end of police officers investigating their own assaults.
Now Mrs Pinkney has issued a chief constable’s congratulations to him and the team behind the project.
He picked up the recognition along with Assistant Chief Officer Nicole Cornelius, Chief Superintendent Scott Chilton, Melanie Williams and the Crown Prosecution Service’s John Montague.
Speaking to The News, Mr Apter said: ‘I and the people working with me never did this for recognition but to be recognised is humbling.
‘I’m really pleased but I’m going to use this to even better promote the work we’ve done.
‘It matters to the public as officers are the public and the public are the police.
‘It’s right and proper that police officers, or any public sector workers, are treated with dignity and respect and that when assaulted they’re treated as a victim.’
Since the campaign was launched the Home Office has changed the way it collects data on assaults on police to get a better national picture.
Self-defence training for officers is being improved and more Taser training has been rolled out.
Forces across England and Wales have adopted the seven-point plan created by Mr Apter and the project team.
St Helena in the Ascension Islands has adopted the plan and the Canadian police are working with the College of Policing, which is researching the problem off the back of Mr Apter’s work.
The project was launched more than two years ago when Mr Apter wrote to then chief constable Andy Marsh threatening to sue if the force was culpable for officers’ injuries.
The College of Policing has since launched research into the problem.
Speaking after the awards, Mrs Pinkney said: ‘Hearing the inspiring stories of my officers and members of the public makes me feel very proud to serve Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
‘Every day our officers are out there, serving our communities, never knowing what they will face and these examples we have heard today just go to show the dangers they can be confronted with and how lucky we are to have people who are willing to stand up for what is right.
‘It is my honour to recognise these acts of professionalism, courage and dedication which have saved lives, protected our homes and supported those who are most in need.
‘It is encouraging to know that there are so many people within our force and within our communities who are committed to making Hampshire and the Isle of Wight a better place to live and work.’