Outstanding acts of bravery commended by top cop

Dominic Coelho

Dominic Coelho

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

Former sprinter gave chase to a violent man

FORMER sprint champion Dominic Coelho scared off and chased down a violent man he saw stamping on someone’s head.

The student – who picked up a police commendation – was on his way home in the early hours of one morning in February last year, when he saw the man being attacked in the city’s High Street.

The 21-year-old – a Kent county sprint champion as a teenager – shouted at the attacker and chased after him, before trying to restrain him while two other men stood and watched.

The biomedical student at the University of Oxford said the thug tried to gouge his eye out, before punching him in the jaw and walking off.

Mr Coelho then called the police and got in the patrol car and identified the man to officers who arrested him.

Speaking after the commendation ceremony, Mr Coelho said he hoped someone else would have done the same if he was being attacked.

He said: “It was no bother. I felt I would not be able to live with myself if I ignored it and he had died.

“It is nice to get a commendation but I feel I could not have done anything else.”

But Det Insp Paul Miller said the student’s actions were “selfless and brave”.

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He said: “It is very unusual to have a member of the public for a commendation such as this.

“Without Dominic following the offender we probably would never have known who this offender was.

“This could have been very different. We could have been dealing with a murder.”

Giving the elderly and vulnerable a helping hand

POLICE in Oxford now have a detailed list of where the elderly and vulnerable live thanks to the work of Pc Jan Warner.

The officer, of the Jericho, Abingdon Road and West Oxford police area, started developing the Vera (Vulnerable Elderly Residents Addresses) project after the floods hit in 2007.

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Pc Jan Warner

Vera allows police officers to keep track of vulnerable pensioners, meaning officers can check up on them and provide specialist assistance.

Inspector Andy Thompson said Pc Warner had helped the force identify and better protect the city’s most vulnerable.

Speaking after the ceremony, Pc Warner said the scheme was a “worthy cause”, adding: “It has been an honour to take this project forward.”

‘THEY’RE A CUT ABOVE THE REST’

OXFORD area commander Superintendent Christian Bunt told the ceremony it had been a hard year for the police, due to national scandals like Plebgate.

But he said the commendations highlighted the good work of the force.

He said: “I know that my colleagues will feel my frustration with a lot of those cases because it is not what we see on a daily basis in terms of the excellent work and courage we see from our staff.

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Oxford area commander Superintendent Christian Bunt

“The commendations we have today are the ones that are a cut above the rest.”

He also said it had been a tough year for the city’s police, because of incidents including the Bullfinch trial and the death of teenager Jayden Parkinson.

He said: “In the police we cannot give large bonuses to our staff, but what we can do to the people who do a very tough job is provide some recognition for what they do.”

Team helps to deliver cut in street robberies

THE TEAM behind a huge drop in street robberies were revered for their work.

In the last financial year there were 107 robberies in Oxford – compared to the 159 in 2011/12.

The fall came after the launch of Operation Buzzard five years ago in a bid to better protect vulnerable foreign students visiting the city in the summer.

Det Insp Miller told the ceremony: “It became a bit like a feeding frenzy for the local sharks.”

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Det Sgt Pauline Heilbron, Pcso David Hession and Belinda Hopkins, now of Oxford University

Head of the robbery team Det Sgt Pauline Heilbron was awarded for her “hard work, leadership and enthusiasm” running the operation for the last three years.

After the ceremony, she said: “It is really good to see. When you hear what has been achieved it is amazing because we just do our job.”

The Det Sgt is due to move to the burglary team next month.

Crime reduction officer Dave Hession was also praised for coming up with a mobile phone app to help foreign students get around the city and stay safe.

And Belinda Hopkins, now of Oxford University, was praised for her work over two years on Operation Buzzard.

Det Insp Miller added: “I have no doubt whatsoever that their work has directly led to the largest drop in victims we have ever seen.”

Earning the trust of sex abuse victims

OFFICERS who earned the trust of vulnerable sex abuse victims, helping them talk to the police, were among those awarded.

A police sergeant, who asked not to be named because of the sensitive nature of the work they do, and Pc Sean Clayton-Chase were praised for their work in dealing with a girl who was repeatedly going missing.

Insp Graham Hadley said Pc Clayton-Chase managed to get the victim to reveal years of abuse, meaning they could arrest a suspect.

He said: “The rapport he built up led to the first disclosure in over a decade of abuse. This was a real breakthrough moment.”

Special Constable Sarah Williams was commended for her work in helping a child with learning difficulties talk about abuse.

Insp Hadley said: “Sarah established the name of the suspect and the need for safeguarding.

“As a result a suspect was apprehended. The quality and professionalism of the debrief by Sarah ensured this outcome.”

And Pc Dan Godden and Pcso Darran Phillips were praised for their work in dealing with a 13-year-old victim of violent and sexual abuse and her suspected abuser.

Pc Godden won the confidence of the victim and got her talk to the police resulting in an arrest and Pcso Phillips was awarded for dealing directly with the suspect and allowing officers to arrest him.

Selfless acts

  • PC Nicola Carran was praised for her work with those at risk of falling into a life of crime.

Det Insp Miller said: “In the last two years as the police lead on Operation Bonify Pc Carran has demonstrated an incredibly high work ethic. She is dedicated, enthusiastic and continues to be highly motivated in her role.

​“As a direct result of Pc Carran’s work, violent offenders have either been imprisoned or, more impressively, diverted away from a life of crime.”

  • THREE Pcs were also commended for their work in trying to save the life of a man, who died after taking heroin.

The man had fallen unconscious at a house in Rose Hill last July. Pc Tony Kirby, Pc Chris Proto, and Pc Stu Carey carried out CPR on the patient for about 15 minutes until paramedics arrived. 

Inspector Matt Coburn said: “The officers made strenuous and prolonged efforts to preserve the life of the casualty who unfortunately did not recover.

“The officers showed dedication and courage and at no stage gave up hope that they would be able to save his life.“

  • PC Craig Finch was commended for his recent police work.

​The officer helped arrest a burglary suspect while he was off-duty in September last year.

He also spotted and arrested an attempted murder suspect in November. He was also praised for work on a suspected chemical suicide case.

  • TWO Pcs, who did not want to be named, and Sgt Simon Woodman were commended for rescuing a man trapped in deep muddy water.

​During the incident in January last year, the officers worked together to free the man who was suffering from hypothermia.

The commendation read: “There is no doubt that his life was in jeopardy and the officers actions prevented a tragedy. The actions of the officers were in the highest tradition of the police service.”

Special Constable James Salt and a Pc, who asked not to be named, were also commended for saving a woman from drowning in the River Isis.

QUICK THINKING

Pcso Helen Duffield was commended for her work in tracking down a suicidal woman in her 20s and helping paramedics reach her.

The East Oxford Pcso called the woman – who had gone missing from the John Radcliffe Hospital – on her mobile and agreed to meet her in a park before using a codeword to get her colleagues to send an ambulance.

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Pcso Helen Duffield

Inspector Graham Hadley said: “Pcso Duffield’s actions contributed to this person surviving the episode.”

And Pcso Duffield said after the ceremony: “It is quite an amazing feeling but to us we do what we can to the best of our ability everyday.”

Neighbourhood police Pc Karen Zoldan, Pc Sandra Timms, Pcso Matt Berry, Pcso Paul Timms and Pcso Cassandra Parry were also awarded for their work in finding a vulnerable missing young woman.

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