Friday, 20 November 2009

Gwent Police awards ceremony

After more than 50 years service and not a day off sick a former Gwent Police officer and current member of staff still has no plans for retirement.

70 year old Nigel Pocknell, the force Welfare Officer, is just one of a number of staff and officers who are up for awards at a ceremony on Thursday 19th November.

Nigel has been nominated for the Employee of the Year award. Following his retirement after a 32 year career as a Gwent police officer Nigel Pocknell took up the newly created role of welfare officer for the force in 1992.

Nigel supports police officers, staff and retired colleagues, often in the most difficult of circumstances at all hours of the day. He provides assistance to those who have dealt with distressing incidents, are terminally ill or have lost loved ones. It can be a particularly demanding role which he performs with ease and without complaint. In 2001 Nigel was awarded an MBE for his welfare services work in support of retired police officers.

Below is just one comment from those who have worked with him;

“Nigel can be the avuncular listener, the skilled counsellor, the paternal advice giver and the shoulder to cry on. He shrinks neither from listening to the distressed person nor from giving firm advice to those who have lost their way.”

The forces Neighbourhood Officer for Alway PC 1202 Elaine Newbury is also in the running for the award.

Elaine has worked in the Alway area for her entire 10 year career and has a vast knowledge of local criminals and their tactics. Officers regularly turn to her for advice and guidance. Younger officers have also been allocated monthly postings to work alongside her, after which they return to their teams with enhanced skills in respect of interviews and prisoner handling.

PC Newbury detected 132 offences in 2008/9 and 199 offences in 2007/08, the highest individual rate in the force for both years. Her work has led to a number of prolific offenders being imprisoned.

Other awards that will feature on the night are;

TEAM OF THE YEAR (Two nominations)
Offender Management Unit Blaeanu Gwent & Caerphilly;
The Offender Management Unit was set up to co-ordinate and deal with all Prolific and Priority Offenders (POPOS) and the management and execution of all Forensic Identification packages within Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly.

The impact upon the community has been extremely positive with prolific offenders being arrested for offences at an early stage, minimising their ability to commit further crime. The OMU has also developed innovative approaches to dealing with offenders through an accommodation project which provides them with some stability and responsibility through running their own home. The Probation Service has applauded this scheme and further work is ongoing to extend the project. The team has significantly reduced turn around times for forensic identifications and this has had a positive impact on performance in terms of crime detections. As a result of the success of the team in the Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly the model has now been rolled out across the whole of the force.

General Purpose Vehicle;
A group of officers have been nominated for their work and commitment to proactive policing with the Newport area. As a team, working on the General Purpose Vehicle (GPV), they take an extremely positive approach to any task asked of them and their seniors regularly receive praise for their performance.

In just over 8 months the General Purpose Vehicle made 438 arrests, submitted 417 stop and search forms and seized 91 vehicles that were either being driven dangerously or involved in crime.
In addition to their statistical results they provide a regular uniformed high visibility presence in local communities.

These are awarded to members of staff in recognition of praiseworthy and notable acts over and above what is normally expected of them;

During the second half of 2007, there was an increase in dwelling house burglaries in Newport. With no particular modus operandi or significant lines of enquiry officers worked tirelessly, seeking out investigative opportunities and collating all possible evidence.

Four prolific offenders were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit dwelling house burglaries. In August 2008 they all pleaded guilty which reflected the hard work undertaken. In total 186 dwelling house burglaries were detected and the arrests dramatically reduced the number of such burglaries that were blighting our community. At the conclusion of the trial the judge congratulated the officers for the professional manner in which the evidence was presented and for their attention to detail. This team are being recognised for their work with a Chief Constables Commendation.

Commendations are being awarded to two officers for their actions in dealing with a man who was firing an air rile in Graig y Rhacca, Caerphilly in February this year. Acting to ensure the safety of the community they surrounded the man and when he ran off chased him, disregarding their own safety. The offender was caught before anyone was seriously hurt, he later pleaded guilty and received a custodial sentence of 18 months.

Two officers are being recognised for their roles in a kidnap and rape investigation in the Newport area in October 2007. They worked tirelessly, both on and off duty, in ensuring a thorough investigation was conducted and support was given to the victim which gave them the courage to give evidence. Working over an extended period of time, the officers continued to demonstrate commitment and enthusiasm. At the conclusion of the case the offender was convicted or rape, kidnap and theft and received a total sentence of nine years in custody.

Paul O'Borne is Planning Manager for Mental Health Services for Caerphilly County Borough Council. He has chaired several groups in Gwent set up to address the needs of people with mental health problems who come into contact with the criminal justice system, as witnesses, victims or offenders. He is receiving a commendation for his efforts in ensuring that Places of Safety are provided for those people detained by the police under the Mental Health Act. Mr OBorne has been a determined activist in progressing the issue for Gwent. His knowledge, energy, tact and determination were key in these provisions becoming a reality.

PC Mike Gunter is receiving a commendation for his sustained commitment and proactive approach to policing within the Newport area whilst working on the General Purpose Vehicle (GPV). With exceptional local knowledge he has achieved an extremely high arrest and process rate and colleagues regularly request his assistance to identify offenders and witnesses. PC Gunter has arrested nearly three hundred people in just over 2 ½ years. These include offences from robbery to possession of controlled drugs. In addition to this he has seized 175 vehicles under the road traffic act, demonstrating his sustained achievement and commitment to policing.


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