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Awards day marks accomplishments of law enforcement teams who keep Sussex safe
Sixteen officers were awarded for their involvement in Operation Chidden and Operation Langhurst – an investigation into the offences committed by a serious sex offender.
Stephen Marsh, 54, was a sexual predator who groomed girls as young as ten, going on to sexually abuse them as teenagers. The period of abuse lasted for 21 years. In 2011 he was jailed for nine years after being found guilty of a total of four counts of indecent assault, possession of indecent images of children and voyeurism.
Marsh covertly videoed his victims in their homes and used his second job as a doorman in city nightclubs to befriend girls and gain their trust. He also befriended his victims’ families to gain unsupervised access to their children.
One outstanding investigator award went to DS Linda Bond, from Brighton Child Protection Team. The whole team were commended for showing excellence in overseeing the complex investigative work; including giving direction, the handling of vast number of exhibits, showing compassion towards vulnerable witnesses and victims, the viewing of distressing and obscene images together with managing a protracted crown court trial.
DS Bond, who has been on the force for 25 years, said: “For over twenty years Marsh abused an image of trust to commit his abhorrent crimes, luring children into his home through offering to let them see and be photographed with his snakes and tortoises.
“I am pleased that the hard work of all of the team has been recognised.
“The result is thanks to the immeasurable courage of the victims who came forward and bravely spoke about their ordeal that justice was done. I am pleased that Marsh no longer poses a risk to society.
“It is humbling to hear all of the hard work and bravery of officers on the force. There is not a lot of celebration and this was a fantastic day to appreciate individuals.”
The bravery and hard work of Brighton and Hove’s police officers were celebrated this week in an awards ceremony attended by the Mayor.
The ceremony heard stories of individual courage saving lives, dedicated crime-solving and commitment to the community over and above their duties.
Award recipients included 15 officers who received an Outstanding Investigator Award for their part in helping to put behind bars, Stephen Marsh, who was described by the judge on the day of his sentencing as a “serious sexual predator”.
Another 12 officers and two members of staff also received an Outstanding Investigator Award for the complex investigation into the criminal activity of an organised crimegroup responsible for bringing large amounts of heroin from Liverpool into Brighton and Hove.
Brighton and Hove’s Divisional Awards were held at the Sussex County Cricket Ground on Monday with presentations made by Brighton and Hove’s Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp, and the Brighton and Hove Mayor, Councillor Denise Cobb.
Chief Superintendent Kemp said: “It was a privilege to be able to recognise the work of so many people who have demonstrated their passion and outstanding commitment to keeping safe the people of Brighton and Hove and those who visit our wonderful city.
“I was asked a few weeks ago what the best thing about my job was and I immediately replied it was the team I have the pleasure of working with.
“Today is an example of just that.
“We are often told we do not relay the good work of the police to the public enough, so this is a great opportunity to showcase the hard work of the officers.
“If Iamhaving a difficult day these award winners become my motivation.
“Their commitment is stunning.”
The Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Cllr Denise Cobb, said: “The work of police officers is invaluable, and it is unfortunate that the general public do not know all of the hard work that goes on.
“The dedication and bravery shown by the officers is incredible and their awards are well deserved.
“The city is safer for their efforts and I am grateful to them for their work.”
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, said: “It is important to recognise the work that officers and staff do on a daily basis that sees them go above and beyond their normal call of duty. I commend them for their actions and they thoroughly deserve the accolades they have received at this awards ceremony for helping to keep Sussex safe.
“The persistence and bravery of these officers is testimony to their professionalism and dedication to duty. Police officers routinely put themselves in danger in order to protect the public.
Their actions were truly astounding and I felt very privileged to be able to give them their award.
‘I feel an element of guilt in winning this award’
PC Lynda Hayes was awarded for her excellent service to the pupils of Longhill School and the local communities affected by the investigation into the death of Connor Saunders.
Connor, 19, tragically died after an altercation between two groups of people in West Street, Rottingdean, in April 2012.
The whole community was shocked including pupils at Longhill School, where Connor had previously attended.
PC Hayes, the Schools Liaison Officer, has been instrumental in maintaining contact between the school and the major crime team ever since.
Presenting her with the award of divisional congratulations, Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp said: “Lynda maintained a balanced and supportive police role acting as a liaison for the major crime team and Longhill School.”
PC Hayes said: “I feel an element of guilt in winning an award from such a horrific situation.
“It is nice to be noticed, though, and it was a lovely day listening to people who have done amazing things.”
PC Hayes was responsible for the communication between the school and the major crime team. She has continued to build up a good relationship with the pupils, ensuring they know the right people to go to if they have information.
She continued: “It still is an incredibly hard situation with high emotions.
“Situations like this do not arise often and it is important that everyone remained respectful and knew who they should and shouldn’t talk to.
“The impact on the small community was huge, and it is not something that will go away over night.”
PC Hayes commended the relationship between the pupils and staff at the school, which has been instrumental in dealing with this sensitive situation.
PC Hayes said of the awards: “It was a lovely day. Working in different police stations, we do not always hear some of the amazing stories that occur every day. It was nice to sit back and clap for those who had some truly exceptional things.
“It is easy to get wrapped up in what you are doing, and this was a chance to recognise some great work.”
Duo starred in an outstanding teamwork case
Senior Crown Prosecutor Gail Purdy and DI Bill Warner were recognised for their involvement in Operation Sunningdale.
This was the investigation and successful conviction of five members of an organised crime group who were identified as bringing significant amounts of heroin from Liverpool into Brighton and Hove.
The five men were sentenced in March for conspiracy to supply class A drugs and given a total of 38 years
imprisonment between them.
Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp said: “This investigation was an outstanding example of teamwork between the intelligence team, the investigation team and the CPS to achieve the high standard of evidence required for a conspiracy conviction.”
DI Warner, who has served in the force for 24 years, said: “I am a born and bred Brightonian and it is a pleasure to serve here, where the force is like a family.
“It is great to see the passion and community spirit recognised at these awards.
“You really are only as good as the team around you, and there are many officers who have done great work that are not here today.
“Passion drives performance, and that is what makes us so successful.”
Speaking after the awards, DI Warner continued: “It is always nice to be valued. People are too quick to criticise when things go wrong.”
DI Warner recalls how the force has changed in 24 years.
On his first year on the job, DI Warner attended an armed robbery in a building society on Portland Road in Hove.
After containing the area, DI Warner waited for the armed robber to exit the building.
When he did, without a second thought, he detained the man in question who had a gun in one pocket and 2,000 of stolen cash in the other.
On returning to the station no one said a thing. DI Warner said: “It is nice now that when people go beyond the call of duty, their work is recognised.”
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