A PC who confronted a gun wielding suspect in a hospital, a cadet who rushed to the aid of a woman being assaulted and a team who tracked down a terrorist and helped bring more than 30 murderers to justice by reviewing hundreds of hours of CCTV were just some of those celebrated at a special awards ceremony.
The prestigious eighth annual Met Excellence Awards, hosted by LBC's Nick Ferrari, took place at a central London venue on Monday, 11 March and recognised a range of dedicated police work across London in a host of categories including Police Officer of the Year, Building a Better Met and Safer Neighbourhoods Team of the Year.
Londoners took part in the public vote to choose the winner of this year's Bravery Award. The vote was extremely close between the three nominees, but PC Stevie Bull from the Central North area (Camden and Islington) was named as the people’s winner and took home the esteemed accolade.
PC Bull showed courage and bravery in the face of extreme threat when she unexpectedly confronted a man with a suspected firearm in March 2018 at the University College Hospital where she was working on an unrelated case.
A suspect was threatening staff with a firearm and, without concern for her own safety, PC Bull acted on instinct and put herself between the suspect and the hospital staff, helping to protect them and divert the gunman's attention.
PC Bull closed the gap between herself and the suspect, giving clear commands to put down the weapon. When he refused, she attempted to grab it. In the struggle, she sustained a head injury after being thrown at a wall, but she continued to tackle the suspect, wrestling the gun from his hands and arresting him.
The firearm was later found to be a starter pistol, however PC Bull did not know this at the time of her heroic actions.
PC Bull, who is now a Sergeant in the Central East area (Hackney and Tower Hamlets), said: “Thank you very much to everyone who voted for me and to everyone else who was nominated. It was a surprise; I wasn’t expecting it at all and it means a lot. I think everyone in the room would have done the same thing as me.”
Scooping this year’s Police Officer of the Year Award was Detective Sergeant Arpan Vyas who has been instrumental in forming the Met’s Violent Crime Task Force (VCTF). From its inception, DS Vyas has delivered outstanding results in both proactive enforcement and community engagement resulting in a 5.3 per cent decrease in the annual number of stabbings involving young people under the age of 25 - 111 fewer victims.
His nominator added that ‘his dynamic leadership skills have undoubtedly suppressed homicide and violence across the capital.’
In response to incidents of violence and knife crime, the Met formed the VCTF in April 2018 to help tackle the issue, take weapons off the streets and to keep London's communities safe. Since their formation, up until the end of February 2019, they carried out 6,324 weapons sweeps in public parks and open spaces looking for weapons and drugs. They seized 245 firearms, 650 knives, 495 offensive weapons and arrested 3,401 people for weapons, violence and drug-related offences.
This year’s Cadet of the Year Award went to Callum Doherty, 19, from the Central North area (Camden and Islington) who used the skills he learnt as a cadet to help a victim.
While out with friends, Callum witnessed a man brutally assaulting a woman, who fell and sustained a head injury. Callum dialled 999 and rushed to help her. He called to residents to bring towels to stem the bleeding and began to administer first aid – even though the assailant tried to stop him.
Undeterred, he placed the woman in the recovery position when she fell unconscious, and kept the approaching ambulance updated. When the emergency services arrived, Callum gave a detailed handover and was highly praised for the way he took control of the situation and helped the victim. Since the incident, Callum has joined the met and is completing his PC training.
The Support Team of the Year award went to the Met’s CCTV Investigations Team, who have faced an enormous caseload over the last year including preventing terror attacks, saving lives and identifying suspects.
The dynamic team provided an immediate response to the Parsons Green train bombing in 2017 which included rapidly reviewing hundreds of hours of CCTV and deploying officers to key locations. The team worked tirelessly and as a result, Ahmed Hassan was located, arrested, and jailed for life.
In addition to their core work, they provided investigative strategies to the wider Met - helping convict suspects in nearly 30 murder investigations.
The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Lorin LaFave for her dedication and determination to protect children from online predators. After Lorin’s 14-year-old son Breck Bednar was murdered in 2014 by a paedophile he met gaming online, she created The Breck Foundation in the hope of educating as many parents and children as possible about internet predators.
On her own this was an immense task, but the Tower Hamlets Volunteer Police Cadets wanted to help. Together, they commissioned a media company to make a presentation, found a film company to produce a video for free and successfully encouraged another company to provide 200 memory sticks.
Since October 2017, 120 cadets have been trained to deliver the presentation in schools across London, resulting in more than 15,000 children seeing it so far.
PC Emmett Harrington from the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command was the winner of one of five Special Recognition Awards handed out on the evening.
PC Harrington was on his way into work when he noticed a pain in his right side. He went to hospital where he spent three weeks in intensive care with a pancreatic problem. Eager to get back to work, PC Harrington went against his doctor’s advice to take longer off work to recover and returned in February last year after four months off.
While many would have eased themselves back in, PC Harrington started where he had left off making more than 60 arrests – including 20 in September alone. His nominator said: “He’s an exceptional officer whose arrest rate is unmatched. He acts as a role model driving the team’s performance and inspiring others.”
Another recipient of the Special Recognition Award was PC Sophie Atkinson, a response officer in the North West area (Barnet, Brent, Harrow). PC Atkinson is a driven and considerate officer who has overcome personal issues to promote mental health awareness.
PC Atkinson suffered from mental health issues during her probation period and now bravely uses her experience to help eradicate the stigma of mental health. To raise awareness and funding, she spent more than a year planning a climbing event in which more than 30 officers took part. The event raised over £1,000 for the Mind charity to provide mental health awareness training for line managers.
PC Atkinson has also taken it upon herself to advertise a fully funded, nationally accredited qualification relating to mental health. It’s been completed by 31 officers so far, helping to look after the well-being of the Met’s hardworking teams.
Actress and comedian Ruby Wax, Olympic gold medal winner Kate Richardson-Walsh and chairwoman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council Sara Thornton were just three of the 13 special guest presenters at the ceremony.
Ruby Wax, who presented the Special Recognition Awards, said: “I was delighted to be involved in this year’s Excellence Awards. It was uplifting and inspiring to hear about the bravery, dedication and selflessness of the Met’s officers and staff.”
Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “The Excellence Awards are an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the outstanding men and women of the Met.
“I was delighted and honoured to share and celebrate the extraordinary work they do day in day out with passion, professionalism and commitment to protecting and serving the people of London.
“The event is all about our people – it is our officers and staff, as well as volunteers and the public we work alongside, whose work is at the heart of our mission in Keeping London Safe.
“I enjoyed hearing the inspiring and sometimes humbling stories of the nominees – whose achievements are outstanding in their own right but also typical of the spirit and dedication shown across the Met and by the people of London. I am very proud of them all, and delighted that their families could hear about their great achievements.”
The 2018 Met Excellence Awards are sponsored by Leidos – Frequentis – Hexagon SI UK, Optima Health, DXC Technology and Accenture UK Ltd.
- Building a Better Met Award: INK Mobile Biometrics Team
- Cadet of the Year: Callum Doherty – Central North area (Camden and Islington)
The other shortlisted cadets – Alex Echeverri, Isaac Skrzypczyk, Regan-Thomas Healy, Samantha Wallace and Gerald Gorham – were all highly commended and received trophies at the ceremony.
- Operational / Specialist Team of the Year: Operation Bellona - Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Command
- Bravery Award (public vote): PC Stevie Bull - Central North area (Camden and Islington)
Police Officer of the Year: Detective Sergeant Arpan Vyas – Violent Crime Task Force
Police Staff of the Year: Christopher Gooch – Head of Digital, Met Command and Control
Safer Neighbourhoods Team of the Year: Harlesden and Kensal Green
Special Constabulary Award: Carl Verges – South East area (Bexley, Greenwich and Lewisham)
Support Team of the Year: CCTV Investigations Team
Volunteer of the Year: Lorin LaFave – Central East area (Hackney and Tower Hamlets)
Special Recognition Award: Brent Emergency Response Team D
Special Recognition Award: PC Emmett Harrington - Roads and Transport Policing Command
Special Recognition Award: PC Sophie Atkinson – North West area (Barnet, Brent, Harrow)
Special Recognition Award: Jenna Trevethan – Forensic Services
Special Recognition Award: Designated Detention Officer Emma Roskell – Met Detention