Two heroic police officers who risked their life to rescue a couple from a burning building, a team of detectives who unravelled the multimillion pound Hatton Garden raid and a supercop who made 213 arrests in under a year were just some of those celebrated on Friday at a special awards ceremony in central London.
The coveted Total Excellence in Policing Awards recognised a host of dedicated police work across 14 separate categories including London’s bravest, its best detective, thief taker of the year, and excellence in victim care.
Thousands of Londoners took part in the public vote to choose the winner of this year’s Outstanding Bravery of the Year Award which was won by PC Craig Nicholson and PC Shand Panesar from Hillingdon borough.
Last September, PC Nicholson and PC Panesar, arrived before London Fire Brigade to a raging house fire in Hillingdon and quickly learnt that two people were trapped inside. Although the officers had no fire safety equipment or protective clothing they acted in the best traditions of the Met and charged into the flame engulfed house without any hesitation.
They searched blind, in thick black smoke, in a desperate bid to find and rescue those trapped inside but were beaten back by flames and had to retreat outside. At this point both officers knew that not going back in would be fatal for those inside. PC Nicholson then took several deep breaths before re-entering the address, only using his police issue white shirt to cover his mouth and nose from the toxic smoke.
He made his way up the stairs in the darkness and heat and rescued a man and woman from the property. Once outside he disregarded his own breathing difficulties and commenced first aid on the woman who was unresponsive. She has since made a full recovery and medics confirmed that the woman would have died were it not for the officer’s decision to risk his own life to re-enter the burning building, rescue her and commence CPR.
Flying Squad West picked up the award for Investigation of the Year after leading the complex investigation into the notorious Hatton Garden raid. The individuals responsible clearly thought they had got away with the audacious burglary in the heart of London’s diamond district but thanks to meticulous and dogged detective work, they didn’t. Officers trawled CCTV from hundreds of cameras, piecing together the gang’s movements over the bank holiday weekend and tracing the white Mercedes which was a critical lead. The surveillance operation which followed linked each of the men to the gang and the crime, culminating in the arrest phase where four of them were caught red-handed with the stolen property. Over 5,000 items valued at around £14 million have been recovered and nine people identified and brought to justice in this challenging and sophisticated burglary.
The Safer Neighbourhood Team of year went to Knights Hill SNT in Lambeth after the small team secured sentences against hundreds of burglars, drug dealers and motor vehicle thieves. The team took a proactive approach to tackle crime in one of the busiest areas of South London; problem tenants have been evicted, cash and drugs have been seized and cannabis factories and drug dealing addresses have been closed. The results highlight the team’s success with 130 arrests, 350 stop and searches, and 15 warrants issued this year.
Super cop PC Tony Morgan from Hammersmith and Fulham took home the Best Thief Taker of the year award after arresting 213 people in just under a year. His arrests repeatedly led to convictions owing to his first class initial investigations across a range of offences including shoplifting, burglary, possession of drugs, and sexual offences.
The Specialist Operations team were also recognised for Operation Decrease following the successful prosecution of two of the UK’s most influential extremists. The team overcame significant challenges including reviewing large amounts of electronic data, social media activity, material from abroad and over 7,000 documents to successfully prosecute Anjem Choudhury and Mizanur Rahman.
Innovative analyst Adnan Ahmed was awarded police staff off the year after he used his specialist knowledge to identify crime trends and patterns to track offenders. Adnan’s first phone evidential package resulted in a nine-year sentence in connection with two burglaries. And in the last year alone, he has identified nearly 100 offences.
The Special Constabulary Operation Reclaim Team won the best Support Team of year after they volunteered over 3,000 hours, stopped and checked 1,900 vehicles. As well as recovering stolen vehicles and those driven illegally, they made 34 arrests for offences including murder, handling stolen goods and drink driving.
Today was the sixth annual award event celebrating amazing professionalism and dedication right across the Metropolitan Police Service.
Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: “These awards give us the opportunity to recognise and celebrate the courage and professionalism of our officers and police staff, in saving lives, fighting crime and tackling armed and dangerous criminals.
“We all joined the Met to serve and protect Londoners and make our city safer for everyone. I am proud to lead an organisation where amazing work happens everyday. Today is an opportunity for me to say a final thank you to all those men and women of the Met who give so much for London every day.”
LBC breakfast presenter Nick Ferrari said: “Rarely can there be a time when we have relied more on the professionalism and bravery of our police forces as we do right now, so an opportunity to be part of an event that honours that is a true privilege.”
A full list of the winners can be found below:
Safer Neighbourhoods Team of the Year – Knights Hill SNT, Lambeth
PCSO of the Year – Lorraine Mumford
Police Staff of the Year – Adnan Ahmed
Special Constable of the Year – Geoff Tatman
Cadet of the Year – Lamya Al-Risheq Aguirre
Volunteer of the Year – Alison McWhinnie
Support Team of the Year – Special Constabulary – Operation Reclaim Team
Outstanding Bravery of the Year – PC Craig Nicholson and PC Shand Panesar
Investigation of the Year – Flying Squad West, Specialist Crime and Operations and Operation Decrease, Specialist Operations
Best Thief Taker – PC Tony Morgan, Hammersmith and Fulham
Operational/Specialist Team of the Year – Digital Media Exploitation Unit, Specialist Operations
Total Victim Care – DC Lorraine Gronbach
Diversity Award – HR Discrimination Complaints Project Team
Commitment to Professionalism whilst Overcoming Adversity:
Police Constable Eddie Rose
Communications Officer Costandia Weaver
Police Sergeant David Singleton
Police Constable Liam Patton
Police Constable Ranjit Sadra