Officers who snared a sex trafficking operation and in Ripley were among the crime fighting cream of the crop to be given their moment in the spotlight on Monday night - at Derbyshire Constabulary’s Celebrating Achievement Awards.
More than 50 police officers from across the force were celebrated for brave achievements and long service at the force’s Butterley headquarters in Ripley.
Addressing the crowd of more than 200 including dignitaries such as the High Sheriff of Derbyshire Derek Mapp and founder of the Karma Nirvana charity Jasvinder Sanghera, Chief Constable Mick Creedon said the ceremony was a “tremendous chance to thank people for what they do day in day out for this force.”
Several awards were given to officers involved in investigations around the Ripley and Heanor area.
Detective Inspectors John Roddis and Steve Roberts were given the Chief Constable’s commendation for outstanding work commended for their investigation into the trafficking of two young Latvian women into Ripley.
In October 2011 the young women were flown to England thinking they were going on a sightseeing tour of London with a man they had met on the internet.
But after arriving at Gatwick airport, they were taken to the Premier Inn in Ripley and abandoned by their Latvian guide.
The women were then sexually assaulted by three men. Staff at the hotel alerted police who raided the hotel and began making arrests.
The two detective inspectors worked closely with the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, UK Human Trafficking Centre, Europol and Latvian police.
In July 2012, Tajinder Singh, 34, and Gurdeep Singh, 53, were jailed for two years each for human trafficking offences and Kulvinder Singh Gill, 45, was sentenced to one-year for sexual assault.
In April 2013, Ignas Judins, 31, who trafficked the women into the UK was jailed for three years.
Det Insp Roberts said after receiving the award that he and his colleague travelled to Latvia to meet with the victims and in order to secure a conviction.
He said: “It’s nice to be recognised, but the main thing for me was that these two girls were made safe and we managed to get them home.”
Members of staff at the Premier Inn were also praised for their vigilance and quick thinking. Their awards will be presented at a later date.
Also recognised on Monday were the team of officers tasked with investigating the murder of Ripley man Christopher Clowes
Detective Constables Ruth Beresford and staff members Lucy Burton and Karen Waldram, of the Major Crime Unit, were given Chief Constable’s Commendations.
On the evening of April 17, 2011, Mr Clowes, 40, was stabbed after a house party in Butterley Hill.
He had recently been in a fight with Lee Barnes, 40, who admitted manslaughter but denied the murder charge. After a thorough investigation of the events running up to the fatal incident, the case put forward for murder by the officers was convincing. Barnes was found guilty of by a jury at Nottingham Crown and given a life sentence.
Announcing the award Deputy Lieutenant of Derbyshire David Wheatcroft said the crime happened at a time when the force was stretched on a number of pressing matters “It was a steep learning curve for all involved, he said. “But a challenge that the team rose to.
Speaking afterwards, mother of two Det Con Beresford now based at the Child Abuse Central Referral Unit in Ripley, said she was proud to receive the award in front of her family.
“It’s nice to be recognised for the work that myself and lots of officers do,” She said. “Investigations of this kind are always difficult but we have to judge them on their own accountability.”
Three officers from the collision investigation unit were praised for their work following the tragic death of 78-year-old Florence Crofts in Ambergate.
Detective Sergeant Jason Clark, Detective Constable Gary Wilson and Constable Paul Barker received Chief Constable’s Commendations for their investigation, which led to a driver from Matlock receiving as three year jail term for causing death by dangerous driving.
Mrs Crofts was killed instantly when she was hit by a car on February 24, 2011, crossing the A6 in Ambergate. The force of the collision threw Miss Crofts 50 metres.
The investigation involved gathering evidence on the driver’s manner of driving before and at the point of collision.
An expert witness disproved the driver’s claim that poor lighting was to blame rather than the way he was driving. From his forensic examination of the scene, PC Barker concluded this was a case of ‘pedestrian throw’ – a rare phenomenon when investigating pedestrian collisions.
Speaking after the award Det Con Clark said it was a tough case.
“I would certainly describe the scene at the time as difficult due to the trauma experienced by the victim.
“Tonight’s about celebrating the achievement and rewarding staff for the hard work that goes into the investigation of incidents like this – it makes it all worthwhile.”
Concluding the ceremony, Chief Inspector Creedon said the police awards were about recognising those who could “walk towards danger rather than away from it.”
“(Policing) is about doing the right thing, “ he added. “Even when it’s uncomfortable to do so.”
CAPTIONS - (titles in brackets)
(Police awards - steve rober)
Trafficking solved: Steve Roberts, left, and John Roddis, right, collect their award from Chief Constable Mick Creedon for the investigation into sex trafficking in Ripley.
(Police awards - paul barker)
Collision team: from left Paul Barker, Gary Wilson and Jason Clark collect their award from Chief Constable Mick Creedon. The trio investigated the circumstances of a pensioner’s death in Ambergate following a collision with a car.
(Police awards - Karen waldram)
Dedicated work: Karen Waldram, Det Con Ruth Beresford, Chief Constable Mick Creedon and Lucy Burton.
(nrhn 151211 Christopher clowes)
Tough investigation: Murder victim Christopher Clowes wearing his Stoke shirt a few hours before he died. Three officers were awarded with commendations for their work investigating his death.
(nrhn 51211 barnes patio)
Crime scene: The patio on which Lee Barnes and Christopher Clowes fought before Mr Clowes was murdered.
Lee Barnes: Jailed for murdering a Ripley man in 2011
Ignas Judins: The Latvian man is behind bars after police uncovered his sex trafficking operation in Ripley
(NRHN 06-08-12 BE 10)
Gang jailed: Two Latvian women were taken to the Premier Inn in Ripley and sexually assaulted. This week two police officers were awarded for their work investigating the case.