APD Control Rooms Awards celebrates unsung heroes

Control Rooms

Emergency Services

Barry Zielinski, General Manager of Public Safety and Defence at Telent Technology Services

As the backbone of Police, Fire, Ambulance and Public Safety organisations, control room staff play a vitally important role in the UK’s emergency services.

That is why, the Telent team is incredibly proud to be a platinum sponsor of the prestigious APD Control Rooms Awards which saw unsung heroes of major and minor incidents receive accolades last night at a special awards ceremony.

The APD Control Room Awards celebrate the professionalism and determination of the people whose efforts help Police, Fire, Ambulance and other public safety organisations continue to thrive and successfully save lives. The awards ceremony provides a great opportunity to recognise emergency services control room staff across the United Kingdom and reward the work they put in behind the scenes and out of sight of the blue lights.

Talent with technology

Telent’s strong relationship and long history with the emergency services across the UK and Ireland makes us particularly honoured to support these awards for the second year running. Our mission-critical technology solutions support the great work of control room staff, with Telent designing, delivering, supporting and operating a wide range of solutions for public safety organisations, including control rooms. Additionally, we provide vehicle connectivity and conversion services, mobile data terminals, unified communications, cloud-based services, ICT managed services and digital evidence management solutions.

I have personally worked with Emergency Services for over 18 Years and it was an excellent move by APD last year to start this much-needed event. At last night’s awards, it was amazing to see that in only a year the number of nominees has almost doubled.

Typically, it is only when major incidents such as 9/11, 7/7, Grenfell and Manchester take place or when it is publicised in the media that we all stop and remember the massive dependency we have on the emergency services. In those instances, it is often the great work of the front-line police officers, fire fighters and paramedics that is the focus of attention and the great work of control room staff and the vital, important part you all play in our emergency services is typically under reported, flying under the radar of public awareness.

We should all take a moment to stop and think about the day to day lifesaving decisions that control room staff make and the preventative measures they carry out to ensure we are safe in our homes and in our everyday lives.

Extraordinary work

That is why the APD Control Room Awards are so important and will become even more so as demand on our Emergency Services continues to grow, directly increasing the pressure and workload on the control room staff. This is set against the context of continued budget challenges across the public sector.

When it came to selecting the winners, all the judges, including myself, struggled to even select the finalists, let alone the winners – and in our eyes all control room staff and the work they carry out is extraordinary. For those that were selected as the winners, this is even more true, and I am honoured to have been a part of the night that celebrated their achievements and those of all control room staff.

"And the winners are..."

Community Champion Award, sponsored by Northgate Public Services

Winner: Kate Dewey, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service

Shortlisted: Romel Davis, Nottinghamshire Police, and Jonathan Tones, North East Ambulance Service

The judges said: “Kate is the backbone of a project that she works on all year round and culminates in a very special Christmas Day lunch for homeless and lonely people. Kate is utterly selfless and dedicates herself to people in the most difficult of circumstances. On duty or off duty, she is always on public service.”

Award for Services to the Public, sponsored by Telent

Winner: Amanda (Mandy) Cassidy, London Ambulance Service

Shortlisted: Julie Roberts, Dyfed Powys Police

The judges said: “We found this nomination deeply moving and humbling. Mandy has turned a terrible personal tragedy into remarkable public service. There could not be a more powerful message to young people about the perils of knife crime than the story Mandy tells, as a mother and as a London Ambulance Service ambassador. Mandy embodies the public service spirit of emergency services control rooms.”

Control Room Dispatcher of the Year, sponsored by Plantronics

Winner: Bronwyn Langdon, Kent Police

Shortlisted: Sue Dyer, Thames Valley Police, and Carmel Sharkey, National Ambulance Service of Ireland

The judges said: “Bronwyn’s performance was exceptional, despite operating outside her usual role. While supporting a firearms operation, she identified a new address to locate a dangerous suspect, thereby ensuring a successful arrest and protecting a vulnerable victim, her young daughter and the community generally.”

Young Achiever of the Year, sponsored by Sopra Steria

Winner: Liam Masurier, Welsh Ambulance Service

Shortlisted: James Dye, South Yorkshire Police, and Codie Williams, Welsh Ambulance Service

The judges said: “Liam’s passion for his role really shines through and he is a thoroughly worthy winner. We were impressed with all Liam has achieved in such a short time and by how he used his skills to ensure a caller, who didn’t realise he was having a heart attack, received urgent medical intervention. That man believes Liam saved his life – a great example of the amazing work of control room staff.”

Team of the Year, sponsored by Red Box

Winner: B Relief, Durham Constabulary

Shortlisted: Red Watch, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service

The judges said: “B Relief demonstrated exceptional team spirit in very difficult circumstances, technically and operationally. They provided vital support to a neighbouring force and its communities while maintaining delivery of services to the Durham Constabulary and local people. This was typical of the team’s consistently high levels of performance.”

Special Recognition Award for Bravery and Courage, sponsored by Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure

Winner: Megan Brunt, Avon and Somerset Police

Shortlisted: Eddie McEvoy, West Yorkshire Police; Jason Stevens, Thames Valley Police; and Gemma Warren, Merseyside Police

The judges said: “Megan carries the skills she has learned in the control room into her everyday life. In two separate incidents away from work she potentially put herself in harm’s way to save a life and prevent risk to life. Megan’s actions showed considerable courage and remarkable initiative. She is a credit to her force and community.”

Control Room Call Taker of the Year, sponsored by Emergency Services Show and Emergency Services Times

Winner: Gemma Honey, Lincolnshire Police

Shortlisted: Kirsty Findlay, Police Scotland, and Sarah Fisher, South Western Ambulance Service

The judges said: “Gemma showed amazing calmness and resilience in her handling of the most harrowing of calls as she listened to a brutal murder taking place. She also demonstrated resourcefulness and presence of mind in establishing the location of the crime and requesting a playback of the call, which proved vital in securing prosecution of the killer. Despite the distressing experience, Gemma remained professional and alert in taking the next call, obtaining crucial information to protect a young child who witnessed the attack and enable the arrest of the suspect.”

Leader of the Year, sponsored by Affini

Winner: Samantha Grainger, Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Police

Shortlisted: Becky Tipper, Avon and Somerset Police, and Rachel Walters, Northumbria Police

The judges said: “Samantha provided excellent leadership during a period of considerable change. The innovations she led have delivered improved operational outputs and have been adopted by other control room operations. She has also led a series of initiatives to promote employee wellbeing.”

Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by BAPCO Show 2019

Winner: Mark Rodaway OBE, Maritime & Coastguard Agency

Shortlisted: Mick Millen, Kent Police, and Midge Nolan, Metropolitan Police

The judges said: “Mark ticks every box for the Lifetime Achievement Award – longevity of service, leadership and national influence. Over his full career he has been responsible for the development of the coastguard service, technically, operationally and in terms of personnel.”

John Gilhooly Unsung Hero Award (dedicated posthumously to John Gilhooly who served in the Scottish Ambulance Service control room for almost 30 years)

Winner: Bernie Miggin, National Ambulance Service of Ireland

The judges said: “Bernie personifies the unsung heroes of the control room. Nominated in several categories, her personality shines through in the heartfelt tributes paid by her colleagues. Bernie is clearly the glue that holds the control room operation together.”

Control Room Ambassador of the Year

Winner: Tom Donohoe, West Yorkshire Police

The judges said: “We’ve decided to recognise Tom for all that he does for the control room community. As well as leading one of the top performing control rooms in the country, his contribution to the sector is truly outstanding and he is a passionate champion of control room teams.”

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