The Isle of Man Constabulary held its annual Chief Constable’s Awards Ceremony this week.
The event, which took place at the Gaiety Theatre in Douglas, looked to celebrate the ‘service, excellence and courage’ of island officers as well as members of the public who saved lives and assisted others.
The event got underway with the arrival of the Lieutenant Governor Sir John Lorimer and the singing of the royal anthem.
This was the first award ceremony for Chief Constable Russ Foster, who replaced Gary Roberts after a decade of service on April 1 this year.
In Mr Foster’s opening address to officers and their family and friends, he said: ‘I truly think that the Isle of Man Constabulary punches well above its weight, and especially when it comes together in a crisis.
‘It is greater than the sum of its parts, which makes me extremely proud to be your Chief Constable. This is a celebration, and we’re going to hear all about extraordinary people doing an extraordinary job.
‘You will hear examples of bravery, officers saving the lives of fellow human beings, investigative excellence, outstanding care and compassion, professionalism, tenacity and further exceptional police work.’
Following the opening address, a short tribute was made to colleagues who had passed away in the previous year, which included retired Constable’s Neal Jones and Martyn Mackie.
Superintendent Stephen Maddocks stepped up to provide an overview of each award and the names of those receiving them.
Nine officers who had completed their ‘Initial Crime Investigators Development Programme’ (ICIDP) were the first to enter the stage, presented with scrolls by Russ Foster.
The Lieutenant Governor was the next to present officers with awards, eight medals being received by officers for long service including Russ Foster and Gary Roberts (for completing 30 years in the police force).
The Chief Constable’s ‘Certificate of Merit’ was the next category of awards, with up to 35 officers being formally recognised.
This included Constable Rebecca Creer for her investigative mindset and victim focus in a domestic abuse case, Detective Constable Emma McGreevy for her investigation skills in a case involving an elderly man being robbed of over £1 million and four officers for their work on a case involving the death of a construction worker on site.
The next category of awards was the Chief Constable’s Commendations, which also included members of the public who had assisted others in a time of need, in some cases saving a life.
An example of this was in December 2022, when married couple Andrew Fargher and Naomi Fargher grew concerned after noticing they had not seen someone they knew for a long time.
After sending a text to the individual checking on their welfare, the couple received a worrying reply which indicated the individual was attempting to take their own life.
They both subsequently rushed to the individual’s address and came to his aid, helping to save his life in the process.
For this, the pair were formally commended. Superintendent Maddocks said: ‘Their bravery and quick thinking undoubtedly saved this person’s life.’
Another example of public heroism which helped save a life came in November 2022, when two members of the public - Philip Bridson and Callum Wicklow - found an agitated man attempting to perform an act of self harm at a fuel station.
Mr Wicklow and Mr Bridson managed to talk the man ‘round and eventually escorted him away from the garage until emergency services arrived at the scene.
Superintendent Maddocks said: ‘They have shown great bravery and quick thinking, putting themselves in the way of what could have been a very dangerous situation. For this, they are formally commended.’ Police officers also received commendations, such as Constable’s Emily Heaton and Lavinia Washington for saving the life of a suicidal male on a beach in the north of the island.
Rounding out the awards was the trophy category which saw ten officers receive a dedicated trophy for their level of service to the force.
Jane Kelly from Civil Defence won the ‘Dr Philip Christian Trophy’ for being an ‘unsung hero’, while Sergeant Jenny McEvoy won the ‘Sergeant Andy Pailor Trophy’ for ‘developing team work for the greater good’.
One of the biggest accolades received at the annual awards is the ‘Hector Duff Lifetime Achievement Award’. Presented by Hector Duff’s son Tony Duff, the award was received by retired Special Constable Thomas Barklie, whose ‘service to the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland will rarely have been equalled and probably never surpassed’.
Another prestigious trophy was the ‘R.K. Eason’ trophy, which was awarded to Detective Chief Inspector Mark Newey.
Superintendent Maddocks said: ‘Without Senior Investigative Officer’s such as Mark, our small island force would struggle to effectively deal with the challenges these cases bring.
‘He has been awarded this trophy for his time, passion and commitment to this role.’
In his closing address, the Lieutenant Governor said: ‘I would like to emphasise a group of people who haven’t been up on the stage today.
‘Without the support of the families, partners and children of these officers, it’s almost impossible to put in the level of commitment that you all do.
‘Well done to everyone who received recognition, an award or a trophy, but also well done to the entire Constabulary and everyone involved in making it all work. Thank you very much.’