A number of police officers have been commended for their professionalism and bravery by Kent Police Chief Constable Alan Pughsley.
PC Ben Hibbert and PC Aimee Bryers were among those recognised at a special award ceremony held on Tuesday 25 February 2020 at Kent Police College in Maidstone, for their actions in responding to an aggravated burglary in the Dover area in January 2019.
Two men were reported to be attempting to break into a property armed with a blood-stained knife. As the officers approached the offenders ran in different directions and PC Hibbert detained one suspect and PC Bryers gave chase to the second.
The suspect, when cornered, threatened PC Bryers who attempted to detain him. In a further bid to escape the man grabbed her by the throat and repeatedly hit her head on a concrete wall.
PC Hibbert heard what was happening and picked up his suspect, running with him to his colleague. He then drew his Taser and the second suspect was arrested. At the time of the incident PC Bryers had only been working as a police officer for seven weeks. They were both commended for their bravery and professionalism.
The Chief Constable also gave commendations to a number of officers who investigated an arson in which a woman died.
On 17 November 2018 officers were called to a house fire in West Malling where a 65-year-old woman lost her life. Another person was also in the property and managed to escape the blaze by jumping from a first-floor window.
Enquiries revealed the fire was deliberate and had been started by the ex-partner of the victim’s daughter. He was arrested and later charged with murder and attempted murder. Despite protesting his innocence he was unanimously convicted following a three-week trial at Maidstone Crown Court in May 2019, and sentenced to a minimum of 32 years’ imprisonment.
All of those commended for their efforts played a vital role in securing the scene, gathering evidence and helping to put forward a thorough and compelling case to be presented in court.
PC Hayley Keen, PC Christopher Lane, Sergeant Martin Kennet, DC Michelle James, DC Bradley Shingles, DC Clare Lockwood and Detective Sergeant Murray Tester were all recognised for their professionalism.
Chief Constable Alan Pugshley said: ‘We have an incredible team here at Kent Police, full of officers and staff who go the extra mile when putting victims at the heart of what they do, and though the work brings many challenges it is also extremely rewarding.
‘Being able to present these awards for acts of unbelievable bravery and courage is one of the best parts of my job and right now there has never been a better time to join the Kent Police family as we are recruiting new officers and staff into a variety of roles, all with the aim of providing a first class service to the people of Kent.’