Two police officers who were injured while halting an armed robbery in Kidderminster have received prestigious Chief Constable’s commendations. PCs Ian Heeks and Jon Townsend smashed the windows of the offenders’ getaway car and leaned inside the vehicle, despite it being driven backwards and forwards at speed.
PC Heeks sprayed the driver with CS, while PC Townsend tried to take the keys. PC Heeks suffered cuts and bruises after wrestling the driver to the floor and PC Townsend was crushed between the getaway car and the police van blocking it in, sustaining a knee injury from which he is still recovering. The officers were first on the scene at the Tesco Express in Stourbridge Road, Kidderminster, on June 11th 2013 after a member of the public reported people acting suspiciously.
PC Rob Piper, who has since retired, ran to his colleagues’ assistance but was himself knocked over by the car, sustaining grazes, and had to be pulled to safety by a colleague. A result of a superb team effort and a highly effective investigation, three Wolverhampton men were jailed for a total of 29 years.
PC Heeks and PC Townsend were awarded Chief Constable’s commendations for their bravery and dedication in apprehending a violent offender and preventing a serious crime.
Sergeant Pete Kitosi-Isanga was awarded a superintendent’s commendation for his supervision and co-ordination of the incident, calm and professional approach, looking after the welfare of the injured officers, and maintaining a crime scene and handling subsequent inquiries.
PC Piper and PC Kellie Irvine were awarded superintendent’s commendations for their bravery and dedication in apprehending a violent offender.
Other commendations included:
DC Mark Wilding received a superintendent’s commendation for his work in the case of a man who subjected his pregnant ex-partner to a frenzied knife attack in Kidderminster, resulting in her giving birth prematurely. Andre Smith was jailed for 15 years in December after admitting attempted murder.
DC Wilding was commended for his investigative ability, the quality of the file he prepared, and his ongoing support to the victim.
DC Saf Ali received a superintendent’s commendation for his part in the apprehension of two men who had brandished a handgun outside a Redditch nightclub. Also commended for this incident were Sergeant Steve Saunders, and PCs Chris Woolman, Samantha Moore, Samantha Connop, and Dave Hawkins, who received their commendations at a previous presentation evening.
PC Woolman, PC Hawkins, PC Connop and DC Ali followed a vehicle in which the suspects were travelling, and Sgt Saunders and PC Moore were parked in a patrol car which the suspects’ vehicle passed, enabling them to update colleagues with vital information. The vehicle was stopped in Bromsgrove by other officers, and a firearm recovered. Although it was an imitation, it had been converted into a weapon capable of firing live ammunition.
This was a fast moving and dynamic incident, and the involvement of the officers was praised by the force duty inspector and armed officers present at the incident.
PC Simon Albutt of the Wythall and Alvechurch Safer Neighbourhood Team dealt with a prolonged and complex neighbour dispute in Hollywood, which resulted in a restraining order being obtained and eventually an eviction order. PC Albutt displayed determination and patience and received aperintendent’s commendations for his positive action, and the emotional support he provided to the victims.
PCSO Simon Cadwallader and PC Greg Moorman were alerted to a house fire and upon arrival found it ablaze and were told by a distressed woman that her son was still inside. They went in but were beaten back by the smoke and intense heat, and had to wait for the arrival of the fire service. They then prevented the mother from trying to get back in herself. Although the man was unable to be saved, their superintendent’s commendations recognised that their courageous actions meant the tragedy did not become a double fatality.
PCs Barney Kelso and Al Healy were awarded their superintendent’s commendations for their work on a neighbour dispute. They put in some very hard work on the case, which was extremely difficult to prove and demonstrated excellent management of the situation.
DC Clare Smith was commended for her work around a case of sexual assault involving two teenage boys which resulted in the offender admitted three charges. DC Smith went beyond expectations with her investigation of the case, dealing with challenging circumstances and pursing the case to its end. Her investigative abilities and determination to see the case through resulted in the offender admitting the offences.
DCs Dave Louden and Mark Wildling, both Kidderminster based detectives, were also presented with PIP (Professionalising the Investigation Programme) Level 2 ICIDP (Initial Crime Investigators Development Programme) training certificates.
The qualification aims to improve the crime investigation skills and abilities of investigative officers. Officers completing the course achieve detective status and are registered on the National Register of Investigators.
The commendations and awards were presented at force headquarters, Hindlip Hall near Worcester, in front of families, friends and guests Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Barrie Sheldon, council leaders and magistrates court chairmen.
Superintendent Kevin Purcell, Local Policing Area Commander for North Worcestershire, said:
“Some of these commendations are to response officers and detectives who have arrived at incidents not knowing what awaits them, such as the robbery in progress at the Tesco Express, where they demonstrated bravery and determination to stop the offenders, despite the obvious risks to themselves.
“The commendations also celebrate the work of members of local policing teams who have made a real difference to people’s lives. They show how ordinary officers have responded in extraordinary ways to achieve the right outcome for our communities.”