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Rescue at Bigbury leads to award for police officers

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Rescue at Bigbury leads to award for police officers

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Devon and Cornwall Police officers have been recognised for "outstanding achievement" following a rescue of a person in the sea at Bigbury Beach. 

Two police officers, PC Matt Hall and PC Fiona Clenahan, were recognised at the South Devon Police Awards in Torquay. 

On Monday, 17 October, 2022, Police Constable Matt Hall and Police Constable Fiona Clenahan attended a report of a high-risk missing person.

A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said: "PC Hall and PC Clenahan located the individual at Bigbury beach, in the sea, and approximately 100 metres from the shore. At great risk to their personal safety, PC Hall and PC Clenahan entered the sea, wading out to chest depth and brought the person safely to the shore.  

"The individual was then able to be treated at the scene by paramedics and supported by other health care professionals."

PC Hall and PC Clenahan were two Devon and Cornwall Police officers from South Devon who were recognised for outstanding achievement at an awards ceremony in Torquay. Joined by family, friends and colleagues, officers from various departments were recognised by senior leaders for going above and beyond in their duties as officers.

The spokesperson continued: "Attendees at the Livermead Hotel in Torquay heard commendations for around twenty officers, with stories of great bravery in dealing with situations such as knife wielding individuals, dangerous situations and performing lifesaving first aid.

"There were also officers who were commended for showing ingenuity, such as acting on their own initiative to save thousands of hours of police time by implementing a new way of working or finding new ways to help in crime prevention tactics.

"The awards also incorporated the PCSO 20th Anniversary Medal Ceremony, where South Devon Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) were presented with medals in recognition and celebration of the 20-year anniversary of PCSOs in Devon.

"The PCSO role began in Devon in 2003, and over two decades PCSO’s have become a vital part of neighbourhood policing."

South Devon Commander, Chief Superintendent Roy Linden, who hosted the awards said: “I feel privileged to have been able to play a part in recognising so many incredible achievements.

"The actions of these officers and staff range from incredibly moving and harrowing accounts of the support provided to the public at times of crisis, to ones of innovation and self-sacrifice.  Each event had one thing in common, officers and staff who showed compassion, selflessness, bravery and the will to go above and beyond in support of the public.

"I am also pleased that we could celebrate the vital work that PCSO’s do on a daily basis.  Over the last twenty years they have been the bedrock of community policing in Devon and Cornwall, from their visible presence on the streets to building long term relationships with communities.  

"Like the communities they service, they are our eyes and ears and their local knowledge is a vital component of crime prevention and investigation.

"Thank you to all the individuals subject to an award, and to the families and friends who were also there to share in their achievements."

Other awards included: 

PC Clarke Orchard

Police Constable Clarke Orchard delivered a plan to reduce marine and rural crime by working to establish a new property marking initiative.  He worked tirelessly in identifying areas for implementation, building relationships with suppliers and key decision makers before personally delivering his findings and getting the go ahead.  

SelectDNA is now a key tool in marking property from mopeds to heavy duty agricultural equipment, allowing stolen property to be quickly identified and returned to their rightful owners.

SI Alex McKnight and SC Jemma Millward

Special Inspector Alex McKnight and Special Constable Jemma Millward were first to attend the home address for high-risk missing person, on rural farmland at night. They located the individual in a field in pitch black darkness. SC Millward saw via flashlight the person had pulled a hunting blade and yelled “knife” warning the other officers.

The individual lashed out at officers with the knife, injuring one Police Constable with a laceration on his arm. All officers managed to safely detain them and remove the knife. SC Millward was on her fourth operational shift and her awareness undoubtedly saved officers from worse injuries.

Both Special Constables carried out amazing professional work throughout an incredibly difficult incident. This typifies the extraordinary work our volunteers do that the public often don’t know about.

A/PS David Williams

In September 2021 Acting Police Sergeant David Williams, under his own initiative and alongside his usual duties, analysed how much time officers were spending gathering evidence. He recommended the force introduce new ways to collect CCTV.  

Through his hard work and dedication his system was introduced to the force in June 2022 and is expected to save over 3000 hours of police officer time each year, reducing the demand on frontline services significantly.


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