Tameside police officer honoured with GMP STARS Award for canal rescue

A TAMESIDE police officer who rescued a member of the public from Ashton Canal is among the recipients of GMP STARS Awards 2020.

PC James Briggs, from the Tameside district, received the Safety – Bravery Award in recognition of his actions during the incident in May.

PC James Briggs with his GMP STARS Award

Officers had been called to the canal to reports of a concern for welfare. When they arrived, they spotted a man submerged in a part of the canal that wasn’t accessible by public footpaths.

PC Briggs acted swiftly by climbing over a nearby fence and making his way down the side of the canal bridge.

Members of the public notified PC Briggs and the team that the male had drifted under the bridge. PC Briggs immediately realised the man was in serious danger as the bridge is an unlit tunnel approximately a mile long.

Knowing that time was of the essence, PC Briggs called out to the male but received no response so jumped into the canal and swam towards him.

Once PC Briggs reached the man, officers standing at the side of the canal pulled them both to safety using a rescue line.

The man was treated by paramedics at the scene before being taken to hospital to receive further treatment and has since made a full recovery.

GMP’s STARS Awards acknowledge the exceptional work that takes place on a daily basis and honour brave officers, volunteers, investigative teams and police staff who go above and beyond the call of duty.

The awards are given for five different categories: Service, Teamwork, Action, Respect and Safety. Each winner has been nominated by colleagues and peers, who recognised their hard work, dedication and excellent achievements.

The 2020 STARS Awards ceremony were scheduled to take place in autumn but had to be cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins met each of the winners to thank them for their continued hard work and to present them with their prestigious awards.

He said: “The STARS Awards is a fantastic opportunity for us to recognise the exceptional work and achievements that have taken place across the force throughout the year.

“The actions of each winner provide a small snapshot of the amazing work that goes on across the force on a daily basis.

“I would like to congratulate all the officers, staff and volunteers that were nominated and received awards, it is something to be incredibly proud of given that this has been a challenging year for us all.

“The professionalism and dedication that you have shown is commendable, and you have done the force proud.

“A huge thank you from myself and the rest of GMP, for all that you have done for the force and the communities of Greater Manchester.

“I would also like to add a special thank you to Service Support (Manchester) Ltd, who are the sponsors of this year’s STARS Awards.”

The full list of winners is:

Service Awards

  • Service Award – Student Officer – Police Constable Andrew Hunt (Stretford)
  • Service Award – Officer – Sergeant Khalid Bhatti (Organised Learning)
  • Service Award – Staff – Creative Imaging Manager Chris Oldham (Corporate Communications Branch)
  • Service Award – Specials – Special Constable Kieron Jones (Wigan)

Teamwork Award

  • Teamwork Award – District – Oldham D Relief Response Team

Action Awards

  • Action Award – Investigative Excellence – The Operation Island Investigative Team
  • Action Award – Innovation Award – Polygraph Team

Respect Award

  • Respect Award – The Karin Mulligan Award for Diversity in Action 2020 – Detective Sergeant Anna Rickards

Safety Award

  • Safety Award – Bravery – PC James Briggs (Tameside).

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