One of the privileges I have as Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner is attending and presenting awards at the annual Constabulary Award Ceremony held at the Martlesham Headquarters.
It is a super occasion both recognising and celebrating some of the extraordinary commitment and dedication from individuals right across our county and an event I really look forward to; this year’s celebration was no exception.
Some of the citations we heard were quite amazing and described how individuals put themselves at considerable personal risk to help other people – way beyond the call of duty! And for this we must all remember how very grateful we are that this wonderful approach is ever-present in the Suffolk Constabulary – I think it’s fair to say it makes me feel immensely proud and at the same time deeply humble.
Awards are presented right across the policing family in our county from police officers to staff and PCSOs to Special Constables and volunteers. It goes without saying they all play a very significant role in helping to keep the county safe.
Hearing these citations was an important reminder to us all of how our police officers put themselves at risk every day and particularly pertinent so close to the tragic events in Westminster last month. I must take this opportunity to add my deep personal condolences and sympathy to the family and friends of Pc Keith Palmer, who was so brutally murdered.
Not only was this a despicable and cowardly terrorist attack at the heart of our democracy, but it brings into very sharp focus the freedoms we enjoy in the United Kingdom should never be taken for granted and the considerable risks encountered by front line police officers and staff. This ultimate act of sacrifice was remembered by everyone present at the ceremony.
The awards are presented right across the policing family from police officers to staff and PCSOs to Special Constables and volunteers. It was also a welcome recognition of the support of families and friends I think it’s fair to say this important contribution to public service doesn’t always receive the attention it should. Policing is a 24/7 public service throughout the year and in all weathers and some of the work can be particularly gruesome and distressing.
That said, I do believe a career in policing is an extremely valuable and worthwhile profession to pursue. The range of activities and disciplines is enormous and was demonstrated during the awards ceremony – detective work, firearms, working with young people, roads policing and emergency response were all included.
The awards show Suffolk Constabulary in its very best light which is why the organisation has a well-deserved reputation as being one of the best and most productive forces in the country and to maintain this reputation the best recruits are required to replace those who are retiring from the Constabulary.
On several occasions I’ve written about how fortunate we are to be policed by consent; the vast majority of officers are unarmed and I believe this can be traced all the way back to Robert Peel’s seven principles of policing, one of which is ‘The public are the police and the police are the public’. That’s why it is so gratifying the awards ceremony recognises the invaluable contribution made by civilians to keeping Suffolk safe and one area highlighted was the work of the Independent Custody Visitors – these volunteers visit our custody suites – such as the one in Bury St Edmunds, to ensure detainees are treated properly and fairly and the conditions are satisfactory. This work has a crucial role within the local criminal justice system and helps to maintain public trust and confidence within this part of our democracy.
Looking back on the ceremony I was extremely proud to be involved and would like to thank everyone involved for all they have done. I know times are pretty testing and challenging, but I’m very confident Suffolk is more than capable of passing this ‘test’ when you witness the wonderful contribution so many make to community safety in this fine county – it is of course, the Suffolk way!