A POLICE officer who commandeered a hovercraft to rescue someone from a shipping lane, and another who saved a teenage girl stranded on a cliff edge, have received awards for their bravery and dedication.
Four officers were given the National Police Chiefs' Council awards, in recognition of outstanding water rescues, at a ceremony at Newport Congregational Church on Tuesday, October 17.
Inspector Adam Henderson-Parish and PC Dave Cooper rescued a 58-year-old man who had fallen into the River Medina, in total darkness, in September, 2015.
PC Lisa Fletcher was also a recipient, but was unable to attend.
The man was spotted by a CCTV operator walking along the dual carriageway, then down a steep slope close to the river. PCs Cooper and Fletcher were called to the scene, where they found the man in distress in the water — with only a fingertip grip on a concrete wall to prevent him from pulled under by the fast flowing current.
Inspector Henderson-Parish arrived to assist his colleagues and, using a safety ring, managed to pull the man, who was losing strength and becoming disorientated, to safety.
A member of the public held Inspector Henderson-Parish's feet so he could reach out to the man, who was taken to hospital and made a full recovery.
The other winner was PC Kris Thon, who took charge of a hovercraft in September, last year, to rescue a suspect from the water at Ryde.
The man had waded into the commercial shipping lane, with only his head above the water.
Hovertravel staff were extremely impressed, and PC Thon was praised for his intelligence and lateral thinking under pressure.
The officers were cheered on by PCSOs, special constables, police staff and the public as they were presented with their awards by Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney.
A number of other officers were presented with awards for their outstanding work by Isle of Wight Superintendent Sarah Jackson.
They included PC Martin Rogers, who was recognised for three incidents of bravery. One was in Sandown just last month, where he rescued a teenage girl who had been drinking from a cliff edge.
She was stranded on a ledge, on the wrong side of a six foot high fence, and could easily have fallen.
A member of the public had made their way onto the ledge and PC Rogers helped them both to safety. He handcuffed the girl to the railings so she couldn’t fall, then guided the girl to solid ground using each railing as an anchor point.
PC Thon received his second award of the night for his professionalism and determination in arresting three wanted men, and PCSO Steve Hull went above and beyond his usual duties to carry out vital enquiries.
PC Sarah Waldegrave, PC Stuart Pearson and crime scene investigator Stephen Clarke were given awards after receiving positive feedback from people they had helped, and three Special Constabulary volunteers — SI Andrew Pullen, SC Jennette Wherry and SC Claire Dawnay — were commended for their dedication.
Superintendent Jackson said: “Every single time an officer puts on their uniform they understand the responsibility they carry to keep the public safe. I’m so proud we can take this opportunity to recognise their outstanding service.
“So often we hear that police officers run towards danger to ensure the safety of the public and to preserve life. The awards that we have presented demonstrate this dedication and bravery without question.
“That my officers of all ranks have put themselves in harm’s way to save lives is an amazing testament to the teamwork and support that the policing family has here on the Island.”