THE best of Bolton’s hardworking police officers who have gone beyond the call of duty were recognised at an awards ceremony at the De Vere White’s Hotel.
Awards were presented to 14 winnners on Thursday , with each receiving a trophy and a certificate signed by Bolton’s most senior officer Ch Supt David Hull.
The awards night sponsored by Bolton Wanderers, Williams BMW, Coleman Milne, Carrs Pasties and Emerson.
■ Volunteer of the Year CHAIRMAN of Brazley Resident’s Association, Jim Smith, aged 72, was recognised for his work, which includes fundraising by staffing car parks on match days.
He uses the money to organise day trips and Christmas outings for residents, and has applied for funding to develop youth and community projects such as street soccer and mountain biking.
He said: “It is was a nice surprise to be nominated and win this award. We work closely with the police and have built a relationship which has paid dividends to them and us.”
Amanda Munro was commended for her work establishing the ROC cafe in Breightmet to help get young people off the streets.
■ Police Staff Member of the Year AN intelligence officer who helped catch a burglar while off-duty was praised for her extensive knowledge of Bolton’s criminals.
Michelle Farnworth, pictured, has worked in Bolton for more than 11 years and has amassed a huge knowledge of the town’s criminals.
In January, while off duty, she spotted a well-known, wanted and violent burglar. She followed him and updated colleagues via her mobile phone, and he was later arrested. Her supervisor, Sgt Mark Parry said: “She is a team player and does not try to place herself in the limelight for any piece of work she undertakes.”
Enquiry counter officer Anthony Higham was commended for going the extra mile when dealing with customers.
■ Special Constable of the Year SPECIAL sergeant Tracy Higginson has developed a strong team of officers that has helped drive down anti-social behaviour and burglaries in Westhoughton.
She also works for the police as a sign language translator. She recently helped explain a situation in which a deaf girl was allegedly raped.
She is regarded as a role model for single mums. She has three school-age children, but still finds time for her voluntary role.
Special constable Linden Riley was commended for working 1,041 hours since January.
■ Partnership Award THE award was scooped by the team that helped evict a nightmare neighbour from his home.
Lee Harvey played loud music, held parties day and night, invited drug users into his home in a quiet residential street and damaged a neighbour’s property with cigarette butts.
After a lengthy and difficult court hearing, Harvey was thrown out of his home.
PC John Gregory, PCSO Bhav Makwana, PCSO Peter Marriette, all pictured, Lee Armstrong from Bolton Council and neighbour John Falch collected the award.
PC Gregory said: “I am over the moon at winning this, more so for Mr Falch — it is well deserved. He has clearly struggled with what happened and it is good for him to get some recognition for standing up against something that was clearly wrong.”
Commendations were given to Spotlight and the Target Enforcement Team for their work keeping an eye on convicted criminals and reducing their reoffending.
■ PCSO of the Year A PCSO known and loved by the people of Westhoughton was awarded for his hard work and local knowledge.
Keith Atherton’s supervising officer, PC Phil Burrows, said: “I was first struck by his complete knowledge of the area and every possible cutthrough and alleyway to move through the area by the best and most direct routes.
“The next realisation was that everyone in Westhoughton knows Keith. We could not go more than 500 metres without the call of ‘Hi Keith’.”
PCSO Atherton, based in Daisy Hill, has carried out residential trips for youths, including visits to haunted houses, army camps and adventure days.
Westhoughton Town Council leader Cllr David Chadwick said: “During the Olympic torch parade through Westhoughton it was very significant Keith received the biggest cheer from the children while patrolling through the town centre on his bicycle.”
PCSO Lee Greenacre, who works in the central neighbourhood policing team, was recognised for identifying a high number of criminals and his bravery for tackling an knife-wielding thug, as well as recovering after being knocked off his bike by a car while on patrol.
■ Customer Service Award DESPITE widespread changes in their role due to budget cuts, the inquiry counter team in Bolton has trialled and supported an operation in which staff carry out additional checks with the UK Border Agency to ascertain the immigration status of foreign nationals who report the loss or theft of their passports. The trial was so successful it was adopted across Greater Manchester Police and by other forces.
Criminal justice typists were commended for providing timely records of taped interviews and typed statements despite staff cuts.
■ Leadership Award INSP Kevin Lister, pictured, the new leader of the Bolton South Neighbourhood Policing Team, was recognised for “leading from the front”.
He has led schemes such as a Business Watch in Farnworth and crime crackdown called Operation Thor. He has also supported his sergeants and ensured officers with enthusiasm and skills have been given the platform to perform.
Insp Chris Evans, of Bolton West, was commended for his work, including creating a Twitter account, working with the Middlebrook Retail Crime Group and encouraging security firm Emerson to sponsor radios for retailers.
■ Best Performing Team Bolton Central Neighbourhood Policing Team, led by Sgt Paul Ellis, pictured, won for their work reducing crime across Bolton town centre over the last 12 months. They were recognised for their efforts to reduce theft from motor vehicles, theft from people, shoplifting, prostitution and robbery.
The volume crime team, a team of detectives led by Det Insp Denise Pye, was commended for tackling and reducing robberies, burglaries and car crime across Bolton, and for transforming her team into one of the lowest performing in Bolton to one of the best.
■ Police Officer of the Year PC Richard Kettle was described as the most proactive and enthusiastic officer in Bolton.
He has made a large number of arrests, stops and intelligence updates. He is currently responsible for 67 people being locked up, which is, ironically, his lowest number in three years.
With a background in the military, bosses say he is always disciplined and smartly turned out.
He is also described as cheerful and polite, with excellent communication skills, and uses his sense of humour to lift the atmosphere around the station.
Det Con Gary Knox, who has 24 years’ service, was commended as an excellent detective who can be relied upon to handle the most complex of investigations “like a dog with a bone”.
■ Cadet of the Year CAMERON Ogden, aged 16, was recognised for his dedication and enthusiasm in volunteering.
■ Matt Dyson Trophy DET Insp Denise Pye collected the trophy, which recognises officers’ dedication to duty.
Det Insp Pye won for leading her team and driving them to improve performance and leading to reductions in crime across Bolton.
Det Insp Pye said she felt “humbled” to be given the award, but dedicated it to her team, who she said had worked hard and deserved it. She said: “I think it’s fantastic. As far as I’m concerned I just go to work and do my job.”
■ Special Awards TWO special awards were given to recognise two officers’ long service.
PC Alan Prescott is the longest currently serving police officer in Bolton, with 38 years’ service.
Special Constable Linden Riley, pictured, is the longest-ever serving special constable in Greater Manchester Police, with 44 years’ service.