Three members of our Force Control Room were recognised for their outstanding efforts as they won prestigious awards at a national ceremony held last night at the NEC in Birmingham.
We are delighted to share the details of the prestigious awards that three members of our Force Control Room were presented with last night, Wednesday 21 September. The awards were presented at the National Control Room Awards, held on the first night of the Emergency Services Show, at the NEC in Birmingham.
Over 170 nominations were received from more than 40 organisations, including police forces, ambulance services, fire services, HM Coastguard and private care providers. We’re grateful to the founder of the awards, Mike Isherwood, and the sponsors and partners for making the event possible and such a success.
The competition was extremely tough with many examples of excellence from across the control room community. We can’t say it enough, they are all #HeroesinHeadsets.
Along with the three winners, two other members of the team were shortlisted for awards in the following categories, Kelly Kirk for Leader of the year, Jools Reavill for Control Room Ambassador of the Year and the whole team in Team of the Year. That’s finalists in six out of ten of the award categories. This shows the strength of the people who work in our control room. It is beyond doubt, we are lucky that all of our colleagues who work in the control room, are dedicated hard working professionals, who are keeping our communities and colleagues safe in Lincolnshire.
Sophie Sutton was awarded the Special Recognition for Bravery and Courage
Sophie Sutton receiving her award. Image by Jolly Media.
Sophie has had what can only been described as a rollercoaster 18 months.
In January 2021, Sophie, an otherwise healthy dispatcher in her 20s, found herself at home having lost control of the whole right side of her body. Rushed to hospital, she was hit with the devastating news that she had experienced a stroke.
Sophie was not to be deterred, however, and after some recovery time in hospital, followed by an intensive course of physiotherapy, Sophie felt she had improved enough to return to work in May 2021, only four months after suffering the stroke.
Sophie has defied the odds and continued to recover at an incredible rate – to the point today that you would never know what she has been through.
Her effort and endeavour, however, does not stop there. Having gone through this potentially life-changing setback, followed by an astonishing recovery, Sophie is now set to achieve her dream of becoming a regular police officer.
Steve Rennie-Brewer, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award
Steve Rennie-Brewer (he was unable to attend the award evening).
Steve joined Lincolnshire Police 37 years ago, after previously serving with the RAF.
He started as a Communications Aide, when the concept of a control room was very different to today.
His role as a Control Room Dispatcher has continually evolved as control room structures have changed. In 2000, Lincolnshire Police decided to centralise all of its command and dispatch operations into a newly built “control room”, with the aim of handling all calls and dispatch for the whole county out of one, HQ-based building. It was at times like this that Steve’s knowledge and experience really came into its own – helping support and develop teams through the change and tutoring many teams over the years.
A highlight of Steve’s time at Lincolnshire Police included being deployed in a special operations role to RAF Cranwell, at a time when Prince William received his pilot wings.
He even starred on TV’s “Inside the Force” and much to his horror, has since been recognised in the street!
Steve has seen it all in his time with Lincolnshire Police. He has shown time and time again both his capability and his ability to keep adapting and is an outstanding role model to so many. He is well respected and loved by his colleagues.
Karen Hay-Barr was awarded Control Room Dispatcher of the year
Karen Hay-Barr receiving her award. Image by Jolly Media.
Dispatcher Karen’s nomination for this award highlighted the vital role she played in Lincolnshire Police’s Major Incident Room following a double murder in Louth.
The male suspect had stabbed a young female and her nine-year-old son in their home and fled the scene. He was later spotted by an off-duty police officer who was walking his dog at a local beauty spot. Upon approaching the suspect, the officer was stabbed in the leg.
Karen immediately volunteered herself to be the dispatcher as armed officers were deployed to the area. This wasn’t an area of the county that Karen was familiar with, however she acted with great professionalism and calmness using all of the systems available to her.
Karen identified numerous threats and dangers as the incident unfolded and responded in a calm and decisive manner.
Thanks to Karen’s excellent all-round control of the incident, it was successfully concluded with the positive outcome of a capture and arrest with no further injuries sustained by anyone.
Karen’s nomination also highlighted other occasions of exceptional performance, including when she persuaded a man threatening to hang himself to divulge his location so officers could reach him and enable him to seek help.
Chief Constable Chris Haward, said: “To learn about each of these examples, where colleagues have rightfully been recognised with these awards, is humbling, to say the least. So often we think of policing as being all about blue lights and fast cars but it’s also about these dedicated, passionate, and professional people working quietly in the background, day and night, and giving it their all to make Lincolnshire the safest place to live, work and visit. Without our colleagues in the control room our staff out in our communities would be working solo and that would bring about unique risk and possible harm, both to them and members of the public.
“I am thrilled members of Lincolnshire Police in the control room have been recognised for their amazing efforts and pass on both my personal thanks to them and those on behalf of the force for helping to keep people in Lincolnshire safe."
Michael Modder-Fitch, Force Control Room, Lincolnshire Police, said: “We are immensely proud of Steve, Karen and Sophie. The awards are hugely deserved. The personal courage, dedication and brilliance invested by each of them into their roles is outstanding.
“Steve has seen it all in his time, he has shown time and time again his ability to keep adapting after all this time, and that is an incredible lesson to us all. He is well respected and loved by his colleagues. While Steve might be closer to the end of his career than the beginning, he shows no signs of letting his standards slip. We are proud to call him a colleague and hope he will continue to be long into the future.
“There are many examples of Karen’s exceptional controlling skills, her actions in the search for the wanted man and the time when she spoke to a suicidal man are just two of them. She is a professional, calm, enthusiastic and dedicated controller. Karen is respected by her colleagues who love working with her, she’s a really valuable member of the team and we are thrilled that she has been recognised for her hard work.
“Sophie epitomises everything that is great about those that work in control rooms, and this is a fairy-tale story, starting from a life changing medical emergency, to achieving her ambition, and we are so extremely proud of her. I have the greatest respect for what she has achieved since her stroke; she has shown such amazing dedication to fulfil her dreams. We will miss her but wish her the greatest of success as a police officer."