Policing Excellence celebrated at Annual Met Police Awards

Policing Excellence celebrated at Annual Met Police Awards

Two PCs who risked their lives to rescue a couple from a burning building were among the winners at Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe’s last Total Excellence in Policing Awards.

PC Craig Nicholson (pictured right) and PC Shand Panesar, from the Hillingdon borough, were recognised for outstanding bravery at the event on Friday 10 February alongside detectives who unravelled the multimillion pound Hatton Garden raid and a police officer who made 213 arrests in under a year.

The Total Excellence in Policing Awards recognised a host of dedicated police work across 14 separate categories. Sir Bernard, who retires at the end of this month, praised the "integrity professionalism, courage and compassion" of Met Police officers and staff.

The awards were attended by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who praised all Met Police officers and staff while presenting the Safer Neighbourhood Team of The Year Award to Knights Hill SNT in Lambeth. The small team secured sentences against hundreds of burglars, drug dealers and motor vehicle thieves.

More than 10,000 people took part in the public vote to choose the winner of this year's Outstanding Bravery of the Year Award which was won PC Nicholson and PC Panesar

Last September the pair arrived before London Fire Brigade to a raging house fire in Hillingdon and quickly learnt that two people were trapped inside. Although the officers had no fire safety equipment or protective clothing they acted in the best traditions of the Met and charged into the flame engulfed house without any hesitation.

"The smoke was cloying. You couldn't breathe through it," said PC Panesar. "We managed to push our way through a couple of metres before we had to come back out."

After taking several deep breaths outside, PC Nicholson charged back into the address, using only his police-issue white shirt to cover his mouth and nose.

"I could hear the people calling for help and I knew where they were," he said. "I was confident I was going to get them out safely and if I didn't they would be trapped in there. I couldn't see anything. There was dark smoke all up the stairway and I had to feel my way around to get myself up to the top of the stairs."

He found the man who was trying to pull an unconscious woman to the top of the stairs. PC Nicholson guided him out and returned to drag the woman out to the safety of the street.

Despite his own breathing difficulties, PC Nicholson immediately started first aid on the woman and continued CPR until the ambulance arrived, while PC Panesar attended to the injured man. Both officers said they felt a huge sense of relief once the woman started to breathe. She has since made a full recovery in hospital.

PC Tony Morgan from Hammersmith and Fulham took home the Best Thief Taker Award after arresting 213 people in just under a year. His arrests repeatedly led to convictions owing to his first class initial investigations across a range of offences including shoplifting, burglary, possession of drugs, and sexual offences.

The Flying Squad West picked up the award for Investigation of the Year after leading the complex investigation into the notorious Hatton Garden raid. A spokesman for the Met said: The individuals responsible clearly thought they had got away with the audacious burglary in the heart of London's diamond district but thanks to meticulous and dogged detective work, they didn’t.”

Innovative analyst Adnan Ahmed was awarded the Police Staff of The Year award. PCSO of the Year was Lorraine Mumford, who has worked for the Met for 31 years. And the award for Total Victim Care went to DC Lorraine Gronbach.

Sir Bernard concluded: "These awards give us the opportunity to recognise and celebrate the courage and professionalism of our officers and police staff, in saving lives, fighting crime and tackling armed and dangerous criminals.”