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Praise for officers and staff working to protect vulnerable people across Sussex

News   •   May 24, 2019 13:24 BST

More than 50 officers and staff have been commended for their outstanding work in investigating some of the most sensitive and complex cases and helping to safeguard vulnerable people.

The officers and staff, as well as colleagues from other agencies, were recognised at a special ceremony for their bravery, professionalism and determination while working as part of the Public Protection Command. Several members of the public also received awards at the ceremony which took place on Thursday, 16 May at the 1st Central County Cricket Ground in Hove.

Chief Superintendent Jayne Dando, Head of the Public Protection Command, said: “Our officers and staff protect some of the most vulnerable people across Sussex. We work closely with partners and other police teams to protect both children and adults who are vulnerable through domestic abuse, sexual abuse or because of their mental health or circumstance. We also have strategic force responsibility for working with other agencies in the management of some of the most dangerous offenders in Sussex.

“It is an increasingly complex and challenging area of work, and the demand is growing all the time, but it can also be highly professionally satisfying.

“Our work is usually unseen by the general public, but although we do not wear uniform or patrol the streets we are still very much at the front line of operational policing.

“Much of what my teams do involves exposure to some of the most distressing and challenging personal situations, whether with victims or offenders, in our society.

“I am very proud of the dedication and resolute professionalism that our officers and staff show every day.”

Detective Constable Tina Baptista and Detective Constable Katy Hartley were commended for their tireless work in relation to a complex investigation into historic allegations of sexual assault by a medical professional on young children in Crowborough and Eastbourne. Following a trial, Dr John Narendran was found guilty of 13 counts of indecent assault and on 14 December 2018 was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment and a lifetime Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

DC Hartley said: “I hope the outcome helps the victims gain some closure on what happened to them and shows others we will take these reports very seriously and will do everything we can to bring those responsible to justice.”

Detective Constable Amy Pooley and Specialist Case Worker Jenny Bristow were also recognised for their hard work and dedication in relation to an investigation into historic allegations of sexual assaults against young boys at a children’s home in Singleton in the 1970s and 1980s. Following a five week trial in late 2018, the offender, John Michael Webber, was sentenced to 32 years in prison on 4 December.

Jenny Bristow (pictured) said; "it was a real honour to assisting Amy Pooley in getting such an excellent court result and that it just goes to prove that it’s never too late to get justice for victims."

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “The police officers and staff who work in public protection roles rarely get the public recognition they deserve because of the sensitive nature of their investigations and the confidentiality they must provide to protect victims.

“I have spoken to many victims of sexual assault, exploitation and abuse and they tell me just how much they appreciated the way public protection officers treated them during the most distressing and frightening times, building the necessary trust for victims to provide evidence to identify and prosecute offenders.

“On behalf of those victims and the countless others that you deal you, I want to thank and commend you all for your patient and considerate approach and excellent investigative capabilities.”

For a variety of legal and personal reasons, it is not possible to report publicly on many of the awards at this time.

Anyone who is the victim of such offences, or knows anyone who is, can contact us online or by calling 101 and arrange to talk in confidence to experienced investigators.