Police officers and police staff were recognised for their dedication, professionalism and commitment to serving the communities of Merseyside at an award ceremony on Monday night (October 2nd, 2017).
The inaugural Merseyside Police ‘Community First Awards’ saw members of the force commended for a range of achievements including dismantling criminal gangs, pioneering new investigative techniques, safeguarding vulnerable people and building community relations.
Police officers and staff were joined by community leaders, volunteers and partner agency professionals who had also been nominated in recognition of the work they do alongside the police to prevent crime and protect communities.
The Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, Andy Cooke QPM, was joined in presenting the awards to the winners by representatives of the 10 companies or organisations whose sponsorship of the awards night had made the event possible.
Young musicians from the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts showcased their talent during the evening’s entertainment and schoolchildren from the force’s Mini Police initiative welcomed guests and VIPs to the Hilton Hotel Liverpool, where the event was held. A raffle offering prizes donated by sponsors raised hundreds of pounds for the High Sheriff of Merseyside’s charitable fund.
Speaking after all 12 awards had been given out, Chief Constable Cooke said: “I would like to congratulate all the nominees and winners for their outstanding work in preventing crime, protecting our communities from harm and for going the extra mile in helping those in need.
“Policing is a difficult job and all of us joined fundamentally to make a difference and keep people safe. So in these challenging times it was important to come together and celebrate the amazing achievements of the staff and officers that give their all to Merseyside Police and the communities we serve.
“Putting our communities first is at the very heart of everything we do at Merseyside Police and the outstanding work carried out by the winners, the nominees and many other people in our organisation is testament to that dedication, commitment and sacrifice.
“As Chief Constable I feel immensely proud every day of the work I see being done not just by the police but also our partners. It was a honour to host some of our friends and colleagues in the NHS, local authorities and the charitable sector who are motivated by the same goal as ourselves – to protect the public and help communities improve.
“The awards night would not have been possible without the generous support from the local companies and organisations who kindly sponsored an award or donated a raffle prize. All the proceeds from the evening will be going to the High Sheriff of Merseyside’s Charitable Fund which helps groups run crime prevention and educational and training schemes in our most deprived areas.
“And finally my thanks and congratulations to the winners and nominees who truly deserve to have had their moment in the spotlight so that their achievements are recognised and can serve as inspiration to us all as we strive to keep putting the communities of Merseyside first, despite the challenges we face.”
Amongst the winners were the force's firearms unit who raced to Manchester to help police colleagues deal with the aftermath of the MEN terrorist bombing, a PCSO and enquiry officer who organised for community-minded youngsters to have a trip of a lifetime to Goodison Park, an officer who devised an ingenious way of getting stolen cars back to their owners, and a member of staff who help re-locate a dangerous sex offender.
Other winners included an A&E nurse who has diverted hundreds of children away from knife crime through talks he does in his spare time, a police volunteer who uses her accountancy background to help detectives catch fraudsters, and officers and staff who have battled cancer and depression to return to the frontline.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy, who presented Anfield boxing coach Alan Walsh with an award for community service said: "The Chief Constable’s inaugural 'Community First Awards' were a wonderful opportunity to applaud the dedication, commitment and bravery of those who work around the clock to keep our community safe.
"It was a truly humbling and inspirational evening, recognising just a few of the acts of everyday heroism that are taking place across the force on a daily basis.
"I warmly congratulate all of this year’s winners and nominees and thank them for everything they have done to go that extra mile serving the people of Merseyside. We are incredibly proud of them and appreciate their service."
The Commissioner's award
Alan Walsh has helped improve the lives of hundreds of vulnerable young people in Liverpool, by delivering boxing training, and putting on diversionary activities, in a bid to keep them off the streets and build their self-esteem.
Running Anfield and North Liverpool Boxing Club, and supervising hundreds of youngsters every week, Alan ensures a safe and warm environment for kids to channel their emotions, learn new skills, make friends and build their confidence.
Jane said: "Over the last 20 years, Alan has helped literally hundreds of young people - kids who otherwise may have taken a very different path - steering them away from trouble and channelling their energy into positive activities, for the benefit of the whole community.
"Alan has also provided invaluable support for my Youth Advisory Group, which enables me to listen to the voices and views of young people from across Merseyside. His knowledge and awareness of the risks facing young people face is priceless and has been instrumental in addressing local problems time and time again.
"Alan is a tireless advocate for young people, ensuring their voices are heard and building bridges between them and the police. I am sure I speak for the much wider community when I thank him for all he does."
Chief Constable's Award - Insp Ian Jones, Bootle community inspector
PCC's Award - Alan Walsh, Anfield & North Liverpool Boxing Club
Police Officer of the Year - DC James Milligan, Hi-Tech Crime Unit
Team of the Year - Matrix Firearms Unit
Recognition Award - Rob Jackson, nurse clinician, RLUH
Volunteer of the Year - Andrea Phipps, economic crime team
Leadership Award - Sgt Michael Volynchook, force contact centre
Diversity Award - Phil Hume, hate crime advisor
Service Award - PCSO Paul Burns & enquiry officer John Munro
The Tom Wright Award in recognition of exceptional commitment in the face of serious injury, illness or person tragedy - Constable Ross Dutton, Constable Sue Parton (and two other nominees who preferred not to be identified publicly)
Innovation Award - An officer who preferred not to be named from the force's vehicle crime group
Employee of the Year - A member of police staff who preferred not to be named from the force's multi-agency safeguarding hub
The award category sponsors were:
Liverpool Football Club
Everton Football Club
Liverpool John Moore's University
Merseyside Police & Crime Commissioner
Dell EMC & SBL