Sergeant Sam Burge is Special Constable of the Year. He received his award at a ceremony for local heroes from across the South West hosted by Avon and Somerset Police on 2 November.
The event, held in Yeovil, brought together Special Constables and volunteers from the Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and British Transport police services.
Sam was nominated for actions including:
- extending his tour of duty by five hours to support colleagues after drugs were discovered after a car was stopped, meaning he had to cancel a social engagement
- arresting a man wanted for seven counts of theft
- talking a nine-year-old child with Asperger Syndrome down from a roof
- working for five days in a row to support the emergency services dealing with flooding in Portland, including rescuing a mentally-ill man from a dangerous beach.
He carries out all these voluntary activities on top of a challenging day job as a Dorset Police radio dispatcher.
The Arthur Ellis Special Constable Team of the Year award went to the Stroud Special Constables of Gloucestershire who were nominated for their efforts to make Gloucestershire’s roads safer.
The Police Support Volunteer of the Year is Barry Barnes of Dorset.
He was nominated for voluntary work including:
- supporting the Safe Bus project in Bournemouth, which offers a safe haven to vulnerable people on a night out in the town. His commitment to co-ordinating the volunteer service has meant the project has run successfully for four years
- working in the Victims Bureau to keep victims updated about the progress of the investigation into their case
- helping the Volunteer Support Team to maintain regular contact with other volunteers
- enabling the Police and Crime Commissioner’s local forums by travelling the county to run them when there’s no one locally to help.
The Dorset Victims Bureau won the Police Support Volunteer Team of the Year Award. The team includes Barry Barnes, Betzabeth Da Silva, Brian Toft, Charlotte Curry, Daniel Marsh, Janet Ranger, Judith Taylor, Nicki Brayne, Samantha Witherington and Serena Morton. The unit is a partnership between these volunteers and paid staff. The volunteers carry out research to make sure updates are accurate and useful, ensuring the Bureau provides a high level of service to many victims of all types of crime. Between them they have devoted more than 1,000 hours to their voluntary role.
The awards were presented by Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens , who said: “Special Constables and volunteers are invaluable to the policing service and play a vital role in ensuring local communities are safe and feel safe. It is important we take the time to recognise their selflessness, hard work and dedication to the job on and daily basis.”