Seven Shetland police officers had their long service and vital work recognised at a Police Awards Ceremony at Clickimin today.
Presenting the awards, Shetland area commander David Bushell described policing as a “very difficult and very unusual” profession in which officers arriving at work would never know what to expect. They are also under the constant scrutiny of the public.
Two of the officers received long-service medals for 20 years in Northern Constabulary.
Sergeant Gordon Fowler joined the force in 1990 and worked in Inverness and Ullapool, as well as various other locations in the force area, and is now a “valued member of the team” in Shetland.
Constable Ewan MacLeod joined as a cadet in 1989 and worked in Benbecula, Inverness, Dingwall and two spells in Brae, where he is now based. As a dog handler who works with the police drugs dog, and is a “dedicated officer” who provides a “very useful resource” in the fight against drugs.
Chief inspector Bushell said the awards recognised the “good work day in day out” of the officers. He said: “Being a police officer is far more than just a job as officers put themselves in danger, are always on duty, work all sorts of unsociable hours and commit themselves to making communities better.”
The fact that police officers are never not working was illustrated by detective constable Martin Murphy, who, although off-duty, foiled an attempt to import a large quantity of heroin into Shetland. Presenting him with the Superintendent’s Commendation, chief inspector Bushell said DC Murphy had displayed “excellent detective skills and diligence, dedication and a professional approach” in spotting something “not right”. Working with colleagues, he enabled the person concerned to be caught and sentenced.
The unexpected nature of police work, chief inspector Bushell said, could be anything from a missing child to a house fire: “You have to deal with anything at the turn of the next corner”.
Constables Ronnie Mackenzie, Victoria Duthie, Jonathan Mustard and special constable James Spence were faced with a sudden emergency last year when member of the public Steve Wilson told them a man had fallen into Lerwick harbour after a drinking session.
Awarding each of the officers an Area Commanders Commendation, chief inspector Bushell said they had recognised the danger and using their “initiative and bravery” in a joint effort, aided by Mr Wilson, had saved the man’s life.
Chief inspector Bushell said: “These officers were on duty last June in the early hours of the morning when they were alerted to a man who had fallen into the harbour. Together with [Mr Wilson] they worked as a team to rescue him from the water. It was a life threatening situation.” Initially the rescuers had put out a floatation device but the rope attached to it snapped. They then climbed over moored boats, lowered a rope and managed to pull the man out safely. The man was treated by ambulance but received no lasting injury.
Mr Wilson received a letter of thanks.