Honours for top police officers

A POLICE officer has been honoured for his work in helping to identify the dead in the wake of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami disaster.Detective chief inspector John Quinton was one of 27 officers to be recognised for outstanding acts of bravery and dedication at the annual Suffolk Constabulary awards ceremony, held yesterday afternoon at police headquarters in Martlesham.

A POLICE officer has been honoured for his work in helping to identify the dead in the wake of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami disaster.

Detective chief inspector John Quinton was one of 27 officers to be recognised for outstanding acts of bravery and dedication at the annual Suffolk Constabulary awards ceremony, held yesterday afternoon at police headquarters in Martlesham.

Det Chf Insp Quinton was given a Chief Constable's commendation for his exceptional work carried out in Thailand as a senior victim identification manager following the Tsunami in December 2004.

The 50-year-old, a policeman in Suffolk for 26 years, was part of an international team that had to match missing person reports to information gained through post mortem examinations.

He said: “We were under pressure because we were aware of the distress caused to the families and we were constantly reminded we weren't just dealing with files and photographs but family tragedies.

“One particular Thai family for example lost 22 people and we managed to recover 14. The impact it had on the local community was immense because whole generations were lost.”

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Other officers to be honoured were acting police sergeant David Burrell, 34, and Pc Neil Porter, 35, who received a Chief Constable's commendation for saving an elderly man from a burning flat in Woodbridge on June 17 last year.

The pair were called to the address following reports of a kitchen fire and after speaking to the pensioner's wife in the front garden Act Sgt Burrell, who has been with the Suffolk police for five-and-a-half years, decided to enter the property and rescue the man from his bedroom.

Pc Porter, who has been with the force three years, continued: “It's very nice to be recognised but at the end of the day it is all in a day's work.”

Meanwhile 30-year-old Lindsay Whittaker, who has been in the force for nine-and-a-half years, was awarded the Sheepshanks Trophy for her work as a community police officer in Ixworth.

Chief constable Alastair McWhirter said: “These events are a tremendous way to recognise police officers, staff and members of the community who assist us greatly in what we do. We couldn't possibly achieve all that we have in Suffolk without this support and that's why the county is such a pleasant and safe place to live.”

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