The Defence Police Federation Awards took place in Southampton on 16 November, celebrating the excellence, bravery, investigative skills and inspirational actions of Ministry of Defence Police officers. Three officers – Temp Sgt Dale Darby, PC Steven Bambra and an officer who asked not to be named, all based at RAF Fylingdales in the North York Moors – received Excellence Awards for managing a complex road traffic collision and providing life-saving first aid to the seriously injured drivers.
On the morning of 26 October 2022, Temp Sgt Darby witnessed two cars colliding head-on, badly injuring the drivers, who were both trapped in their vehicles. He blocked the road with his car and radioed for help. A fire engine from RAF Fylingdales reached the scene, along with police colleagues including PC Bambra.
The officers carried out life-saving first aid and coordinated the emergency services. Both injured drivers were cut free by the fire service, and one received blood transfusions on the side of the road. Thankfully, both made full recoveries.
Also receiving an Excellence Award was PC Jane Allan, who was off-duty in August 2022 when she went to the aid of a seriously injured cyclist.
The man had been cycling at speed when a dog ran out in front of him. He braked so sharply that he flew into the air before landing on his bike. When PC Allan arrived at the scene, the man was screaming in pain. Members of the public told her they had phoned an ambulance but it was going to take over half an hour to arrive.
PC Allan observed that the man’s colour was changing and that he had broken ribs; she also suspected he had a punctured lung. As the man deteriorated, PC Allan called the ambulance again and begged them to come, saying she was worried he would go into cardiac arrest. Within minutes an air ambulance arrived.
The man’s injuries were confirmed as nine broken ribs, two punctured lungs requiring chest drains, a broken collarbone, and spinal damage that needed operating on. After an extended period in hospital, he was able to come home. He visited PC Allan a few months later to thank her for saving his life.
Receiving Bravery Awards on the night were PC Ravinder Digpaul and PC Ryan Pariso, who fought off and safely arrested a knife-wielding assailant in the heart of tourist-heavy central London.
On 18 April 2022, the officers were on duty at Horse Guards on Whitehall when a man ran through the gates at speed, brandishing a knife. The man headed towards PC Digpaul, who stumbled and fell to the ground. The man stood over him, swinging his knife, but luckily PC Pariso managed to Taser him. The assailant fell to the ground, before officers handcuffed and arrested him. He was later jailed for 30 months and stated in court that he had wanted to be shot by the officers.
“It was the safest and best outcome that we could have had with that incident,” PC Digpaul said, adding: “It was a scary situation at the time.”
Also receiving Bravery Awards at the ceremony were PC Ryan Devenish and PC Daniel Latham, who gave life-saving first aid to a man who was seriously injured in an explosion at an MOD base in South England.
The officers were the only medical response for the first 20 minutes, during which time they managed the scene while treating the man, who had catastrophic bleeds to the face, further injuries to the face, burns, and shrapnel-type injuries to his arms and chest.
PC Latham said: “We fell back on the training that we’re given for blunt and ballistic trauma.”
A trauma doctor and army medic arrived on scene and commented on how well both officers had done in treating the victim. The man survived, although he has ongoing injuries.
The winners of the Investigation of the Year Award were DC Ian Rose and a Detective Constable colleague, who put together a case against soldiers and civilians who stole over £150,000 worth of restricted MOD property from Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire.
The detectives identified the money flow from a civilian selling MOD property on eBay, to a serving soldier and his wife. After analysing bank accounts, they saw that the couple was financially linked to other service personnel.
A large part of the officers’ job was trawling through mobile phone messages, where they found important evidence. In late 2022, all eight members of the conspiracy were found guilty.
The winner of the Debbie Williams Award for Friends of the Defence Police Federation was Mick Crozier, Welfare Support Programme Lead for the Police Firearms Officers Association (PFOA).
Mick has called countless officers to offer them help and support and has gone above and beyond to stay in touch with them, making a real difference to the lives of members and their families.
Defence Police Federation Welfare Lead Claire Batt MBE said: “Mick is the reason why we still have some DPF members working within the force and managing their difficulties, when at the point they picked the phone up to Mick they were possibly considering ending it all.”
Finally, the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award was Andrew Nicholson, who recently retired after an incredible 36 years of frontline marine policing.
Most recently, Andrew was part of the Marine Escort Group, a challenging role supporting the UK’s continuous-at-sea nuclear deterrent (CASD). Just last year, Andrew was one of the first officers to qualify in the firearms module E5.4, which is the armed boarding of vessels on the move from a rigid ladder, a physically demanding specialist task.
Andrew was a highly popular officer who acted as an unofficial mentor to many new faces to the unit. He said he had loved his career and was very proud of his work, adding: “I would do it all again starting tomorrow if I could.”
Defence Police Federation Chair Eamon Keating, said: “What a fantastic career, worthy of celebration and accolades. His colleagues have said that they doubt we will ever have such a dependable, long-serving officer in the marine unit again, and we all think Andrew richly deserves this recognition.”
The Awards were sponsored by Serve and Protect Credit Union, Uniform Mortgages, No 1 CopperPot Credit Union, Flint House, KM Law, Blackfords and Police Mutual.