saw Chief Constable Stephen Watson conduct his first Greater Manchester Police (GMP) commendation awards ceremony to recognise the fantastic work of officers.

The ceremony, which took place at Hough End, saw officers and staff from around the Force come together to celebrate the fantastic dedication and bravery of GMP officers and members of the public. There were over 70 awards presented, all showing great examples of amazing work to be proud of.

Chief Constable Stephen Watson said that, “It is an honour to be at the GMP commendation ceremony, to be able to present my first commendations and highlight the fantastic work that goes on every day across GMP.

“It is always a pleasure to hear these examples of great bravery, dedication and commitment to the job. Both members of the public and officers have acted on their instinct, often in crisis situations, and this shows what well-deserving winners they all are.”

One of the incidents recognised is that of Inspector Alan Cross and PCSO Martin Heys who have received a Chief Constable’s Commendation for their bravery while detaining three armed shoplifters outside B&Q in Stockport while they were off duty.

Inspector Cross was off duty outside the B&Q when he went to the aid of a security officer, Stuart Pinder, who was struggling to recover high value items just stolen by the offenders. The offenders managed to get into a vehicle but Inspector Cross persevered to stop them driving away by taking hold of the keys from the ignition. He was punched several times and was stabbed with a screwdriver in his arm.

PCSO Heys, who was also off duty nearby, went to assist and was also stabbed twice with the screwdriver to the hand. Both officers detained the offenders until other officers arrived, and all three offenders were arrested and subsequently charged, with all the stolen property being recovered.

There is little doubt much more serious injuries would have been inflicted if it was not for the evasive action taken. Fortunately the injuries to Inspector Cross and PCSO Heys were not serious and did not require hospital treatment.

B&Q were so grateful for the officer’s bravery that they provided trees and planters along with two staff to help create a memorial garden at Trafford Police Station to remember fallen colleagues and more pertinently two officers who passed away last year. B&Q security guard Stuart Pinder, was at the ceremony to collect a special recognition certificate on behalf of B&Q for their generosity.

Inspector Cross says: “As an officer you are never really off duty and I will always help if someone needs it. I didn’t think twice to intervene and stop the offenders getting away, I am just glad that nobody was seriously injured.

“I am proud that our efforts have been recognised by GMP and delighted that B&Q were able to help create such a lovely garden for our fallen officers.

“The commendation evening was an uplifting experience, surrounded by inspirational officers, staff, partners and members of the public who have exposed themselves to untold levels of personal risk, and those who have dedicated so much time and effort to improve the safety and wellbeing of our communities.”

Another award was for Suzanna Smith, a call handler for GMP, who was awarded a Chief Constable’s Commendation for helping to save the life of a young female.

Suzanna was driving to work when she stopped to help a female who was on the wrong side of the railings. She rang 999 then approached her, seeing she was distressed and reluctant to talk.

Suzanna reassured her and persisted in engaging with her to build up a rapport and to keep her talking. The female’s father arrived and, with the assistance of Suzanna, they managed to pull her to safety. Suzanna remained with the female, supporting her until patrols arrived.

This is not Suzanna’s normal job role and she displayed outstanding professionalism, courage and compassion in a difficult and unexpected situation.

Suzanna expressed that: “To sit and hear such amazing stories of bravery, professionalism, dedication and compassion at the awards was very humbling. I was in awe listening to all the amazing stories.

“The day of the incident will stay with me forever, I’m so glad I got to be a small part of making sure she was safe but to me she’s the hero. She listened to me when she didn’t want to and she shared her story with me and allowed us to help.

“I’m proud to be part of GMP and start my new role as a PCSO at Leigh. I will take what I have learnt from this incident, and from listening to all the other commendations, and put them into my new role.”


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