Commendations for bravery

AFTER being seriously attacked by potential burglars in the early hours of a Friday morning, Police Constable Matthew Le Page and Police Constable Craig Sharman were back at work with stitches and bruises on Monday morning.

They received the Chief Officer’s Commendation for their bravery, the highest internal accolade achievable, at the Bailiwick Law Enforcement Annual Awards.

The incident took place at a retail complex in St Sampson’s, where there had been a spate of commercial burglaries.

The two constables were carrying out patrols in plain clothes when they spotted three men acting suspiciously in the car park.

They approached the group and carried out checks which revealed that one was on conditional bail.

That man ran off and PC Sharman gave chase and caught him, but then one of the other men threw the officer to the ground with a rugby-style tackle. PC Sharman still kept hold of the man, who was struggling to run away.

At the same time PC Le Page was assaulted by the third man.

While PC Le Page was on the ground, the man struck and kicked him multiple times. The attacks lasted around five minutes.

PC Sharman received minor injuries, which were treated by ambulance staff.

PC Le Page suffered injuries to his head, face, hand and knee and received treatment at the Emergency Department.

Left to right: Chief of Police Ruari Hardy, PC Matthew Le Page, Home Affairs President Deputy Rob Prow and PC Craig Sharman. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 28918061)

Two men were arrested at the scene and the third was arrested later in the day. All three were charged with offences including assault and resisting arrest and they subsequently pleaded guilty in court.

‘I was effectively fighting with two individuals, one individual eventually made off and I was left with just one that I managed to restrain on the floor. However, I could hear what was going on to my colleague and hear him being kicked and I could only just about see because it was pitch black, and I had to make a decision between letting the individual go and helping my colleague. But once you’ve arrested someone they are your responsibility, so both of these things were going through my mind but I eventually made a decision to get up and leave this man, who then got up and started fighting with me and he eventually ran and I was able to help my colleague, which was the thing I needed to do,’ said PC Sharman.

PC Le Page said there was always a small risk associated with the job, but it did not stop their commitment to the service.

‘It was very unusual for Guernsey, this sort of thing doesn’t happen very regularly, luckily, and the right result came out of it because we got the guys and they got convicted.’

Other commendation winners were Customs Higher Executive Officer Leila Le Poidevin for her tireless efforts and diligence in progressing a complex, sensitive and multi-jurisdictional case and providing outstanding assistance and guidance to colleagues in other agencies.

Left to right: Chief of Police Ruari Hardy, Police Sergeant Jon Walker, President of Home Affairs Deputy Rob Prow with Police Sergeant Craig Aitken. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 28918063)

Police Sergeant Jon Walker and Police Sergeant Craig Aitken received commendations for their work on a sensitive and complex case involving the death of a vulnerable female in residential care.

Police Constable Dan Thomas was formally commended for his quick thinking and courage in attempting to save a person from drowning.

Law Enforcement Awards Evening at Les Cotils. Left to right: Chief of Police Ruari Hardy and Deputy Rob Prow with PC Daniel Thomas. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 28918065)

Award for man who broke leg chasing burglar

CHASING a burglar for nearly one kilometre and sustaining a broken bone in his leg, a sprained ankle and various cuts and bruises won Joseph Irvin the Crimestoppers Achievement Award.

In January this year Mr Irvin and his partner came home to find their front door open.

Mr Irvin went inside and called out and heard footsteps from the downstairs hallway. As he went down the stairs he heard the back door open and close and saw a man running from his house towards the bottom of his enclosed garden.

That was when the pursuit started and he shouted ‘stop’ and caught up with the man at the bottom of the garden, put his hand on the man’s shoulder and asked ‘what are you doing here?’.

The offender then climbed over the garden wall and down a steep 20ft bank into the neighbouring garden.

Mr Irvin followed but fell down the bank onto a table at the bottom and broke the top of his left fibula, along with other injuries.

Chief of Police Ruari Hardy and Deputy Rob Prow. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 28918059)

He explained that he just wanted to get his belongings back.

‘I went down the drop after him and I connected with a table, which didn’t collapse as per the films, and I broke my leg and I ripped the ligaments apart on both my ankles, but I obviously got up and I chased the guy and got him to empty out his pockets and I recovered some property, but the joy of finding something was immediately overshadowed by the fear of what else he might have.

‘And at that point he became a little bit violent and threatening, but if I didn’t chase him I wouldn’t get my stuff back, so it was a bit of a farce going down streets and through hedges and over walls, it was just under a kilometre and if it wasn’t for the guys at the garage I probably would not have caught him.

‘Every time I went over a wall he waited for me so he could hit me when I landed, so I had to let him get away a little bit, it was a bit of an altercation all the way.

Guernsey Police Station. (28923280)

‘I’m not a fit guy, I’m a bit fat, but he was equally unfit and I kept reminding him that, although I was fat, I was fitter than him.’

When they reached the Guernsey Motor Spares car park, Mr Irvin shouted out to staff for help and they responded and next it was a group following the offender.

Eventually in Upper St Jacques Mr Irvin was able to physically detain the man to prevent him fleeing further.

Guernsey Police. (28923289)

When the police officers arrived the man was arrested on suspicion of burglary.

He was subsequently sentenced to three years and eight months’ imprisonment for prolific offences.

Later that night, after all the police statements had been given, Mr Irvin went to a restaurant covered in blood and cuts and said his friends had a good laugh at him.

Traffic warden receives trophy for helping Police during lockdown

WHEN traffic warden Russell Welbourne saw his core role stood down during the lockdown, he volunteered to support his police colleagues – the idea was that he would just assist on the periphery.

However, he ended up in the thick of it on numerous occasions, including arrests of violent individuals, warrants and helping officers with stop and search.

Guernsey Police car at Saumarez Park during lockdown. (28923283)

He was deployed mostly with the dog section and spent many hours helping the dog handlers train their animals, which often involved being the ‘wanted man’ and having the dog ‘bite’ his arm.

The protocols of policing are not usually supportive of such a frontline arrangement, but the times were ‘unprecedented’ and Mr Welbourne was described as having the attributes needed.

For his dedication and commitment Mr Welbourne received the Special Constabulary Sergeant Frederick Le Noury trophy.

In the citation before his presentation it was explained that numerous officers had praised the assistance he had offered them.

Bailiwick Law Enforcement held an award evening to recognise the impressive work of some officers. (28923286)

Mr Welbourne was involved in an incident with a violent juvenile in the Collings Road area and helped the police officer to restrain the individual.

On another occasion during lockdown he located a vulnerable missing person.

Mr Welbourne said it was a very fulfilling and enjoyable experience.

‘Traffic wardens are sworn in as Special Constables and our duties include traffic wardening, and when Covid reached us we were short and I volunteered to go out with other officers, and we weren’t exactly ticketing at the time so it was nice to go out with fantastic officers and work with them.

‘On a couple of occasions a few incidents came up and I was with officers and there was only the two of us, so it was either jump in or stand back and I jumped in.’

The island’s longest-serving traffic warden is well known around Town for always helping out with a can-do attitude and he is often the first on the scene at accidents.

He said most people are accepting of tickets and aggressive members of the public are rare.

Bailiwick Law Enforcement's awards ceremony was held at Les Cotils on Monday evening. (28923295)

‘Unfortunately, it’s a thankless job because most of it is giving tickets and helping at road traffic accidents, so we’re never thanked particularly by the general public, but it’s lovely to be recognised by work colleagues.

‘If I’ve just given someone a ticket they’re not happy, they don’t mean it, it’s the uniform not the person.’

Other Awards

Law Enforcement Certificate of Recognition:

Shane Gaudion and Emanuelle Mauger for restraining an out-of-control dog near Saumarez Park

Julia Watts, Sandra Robilliard and Andrew Warren from Autism Guernsey for developing and implementing the autism passport scheme

Lauren Read and Joe Tabel for jumping into a narrow sea gully to rescue an elderly fisherman

The Andrew Ozanne Award for charitable achievement:

Police Sergeant Benjamin Rowe for his work with the Royal British Legion

The Len Townsley Award for meritorious police service to the community:

Police Sergeant Joanne Reynolds and the Neighbourhood Policing Team for the work they did ahead of lockdown to develop a plan to deal with potential breaches of lockdown by juveniles

The Island Police Committee Award for sports achievement:

Fleet manager Geoff Le Page, who swam as part of an English Channel relay team

The Chief Officer George Le Page Award for outstanding achievement by a member of police staff:

Police Sergeant Jonathan Reeves for his work around domestic abuse, including a presentation he gave to the senior team and all shifts about the subject

The Francis Quin Award for outstanding contribution to effective team working:

Police Sergeant Stephen Gilman and Police Constable Nicholas Boughay who act as BLE College Ambassadors for no additional reward

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