The bravery, dedication and professionalism of Police officers in Hampshire has been celebrated at a special awards ceremony, with 3 officers awarded for their quick-thinking actions during this year’s Round the Island Race.

The Joint Operations Unit (JOU) Commendations Ceremony saw a total of 25 officers and staff recognised for excellent service and courage when faced with some truly threatening and daunting scenes. The individuals, as well as 3 police dogs, were honoured at a ceremony on Friday (2nd December), at Sulhamstead police training centre in Berkshire.

The JOU is a collaboration between Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police which covers 3 broad areas of policing: Operations, Roads Policing and Firearms. The unit was formed to bring together highly specialised units and teams with a vast array of skills to protect the communities within the 2 force areas.

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Sgt Damon Kennard, from the Marine Unit, Special Constable David Collins and PC David King helped save the lives of a crew taking part in the Round the Island Race back in July.

The trio responded to a Mayday call made by ‘Alchemist’ as it started to take on water after hitting a wreck at The Needles. In Force 6 winds and 4 metre high waves, the Police launch ‘Commander’ was immediately brought into action, crewed by the 3 officers.

Sgt Damon demonstrated exceptional boat hunting skills during the course of the rescue, which involved manoeuvring Commander alongside the stricken vessel. SC Collins and PC King showed exceptional bravery by assisting the crew members across the Police launch and ensured they got first aid.

With help from the RNLI the final 2 members were taken to safety, although sadly the vessel could not be saved.

The entire incident was witnessed by a member of the public who emailed the force to praise the Commander’s crew because in his view, had it not been for these three officers, there would have been a fatality.

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Chief Supt. Williams said:

“Hearing the inspiring stories of our officers makes me feel very proud to lead this Joint Operations Unit.

“Every day our officers are out there, serving our communities, never knowing what they will face and these examples we have heard at this ceremony just goes to show the dangers they can be confronted with and how lucky we are to have people who are willing to stand up for what is right.

“I am immensely proud of the dedication of our officers and staff who go above and beyond to keep our counties safe.”