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Our congratulations go to Ross-on-Wye Police Officer, PC Mark Murphy, who was presented with the Paul Deneen Trophy at the West Mercia Police 'Quality People' Awards at Hindlip Hall on Tuesday, 8th September. There must be very few people in the town of Ross who don't know PC Murphy, or at least know who he is. PC Murphy is a very familiar face about town, always approachable and ever willing to assist. It was said at the awards ceremony that 'PC Mark Murphy is an exceptional Local Policing Officer who has the best interests of his community and the force at heart.

In October 2008, along with his Ross Town Local Policing team colleagues, his efforts were rewarded when he received an award in recognition of his contribution towards improving performance for the force. He is a highly motivated and committed officer who provides a quality service to the community of Ross-on-Wye. He truly epitomises the force's mission of 'Serving, Protecting, Making the Difference.'

West Mercia Police honoured the best of its officers, staff and members of the Special Constabulary at its annual Quality People Awards, which were hosted by Chief Constable Paul West at Police HQ in Worcester. Now into it's fifth year the event saw eighty people being nominated for 21 awards, including Life Time Achievement, Excellence in Policing, Criminal Investigator of the Year, Community Police Officer of the Year, Community Support Officer of the Year and the Chief Constable's Trophy for police staff.

Special guests presenting awards included The Rt Hon Countess of Darnley, Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire; Lord Lieutenant for Shropshire, Algernon Heber-Percy; Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire Michael Brinton; The Hon Gilbert Greenhall CBE, High Sheriff of Herefordshire & Worcestershire; Shelia Blagg, Chair of West Mercia Police Authority; and Paul Deneen DL, the authority's recently outgoing chair. The annual awards are held to recognise and acknowledge the hard work and dedication of West Mercia Police officers, staff and volunteers from across Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Worcestershire, who have all made a significant difference to the communities in which they work.

Chief Constable West said, 'The Quality People Awards are an opportunity to recognise and reward the very best of the excellent and, at times, unsung work that our officers, staff and volunteers undertake on a daily basis. They are a fitting public recognition of their tireless enthusiasm, dedication and commitment, and are a chance for their colleagues and the communities we serve to show the nominees how much pride we all take in their achievements, which cover the full breadth of the many and varied elements that make up good policing. The ceremony also reflects the very highest standards of professionalism and commitment set by our employees, some of whom have served with the force for many years. It is important in any walk of life that the dedication and commitment of staff is regularly acknowledged. In my frequent visits around the force, I am always struck by the tremendous work that our people undertake on a daily basis on behalf of the communities we serve.'

Sheila Blagg, Chair of the West Mercia Police Authority, presented a number of awards on the night. She said, 'I have been impressed and humbled by the individual examples of integrity, initiative, courage, commitment and leadership. The Police Authority and the force are very proud of the position we hold nationally as a top performing force. We know we hold that position because we have top quality people, both on the public-facing side and behind the scenes in support services. We believe it is important to recognise individual effort and achievement and these awards are a public 'thank you' to all the nominees and winners.'

Two new awards were introduced this year; the Outstanding Contribution Award to recognise a member of police staff who has made an outstanding contribution to the organisation over a period of time, and the Diversity in Action Team Award, presented to a team who can show outstanding achievement or proven innovative practice in diversity in the past year.

Five award winners have been entered as West Mercia Police's nominations for the National Jane's Police Review Awards to be held in London on 28th October at the Park Lane Hilton Hotel, London, which will be attended by the Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, and the most senior and influential people in policing and government, including the chief constables of every force in the UK. They are: ∑ Susan Tomlinson from Shropshire Division, nominee for the CSO of the Year ∑ Shropshire Local Policing Support Team, West Mercia's nominees for the Diversity in Action Team Award. ∑ Police Constable Richard Waterhouse from North Worcestershire Division, nominee for the Community Police Officer of the year. ∑ Retired DC Graham Blomfield, nominee for the Lifetime Achievement Award ∑ Police Constable Michelle Clarke from South Worcestershire Division, nominee for Student Officer of The Year. Each Quality People Award winner gets to keep their trophy for a year and is also presented with a crystal paperweight to keep, which bears the Quality People logo. The winner of the student officer of the year also receives a £25 cheque and both the winner and runner up are presented with a £50 book token to help with their studies.

Paul Deneen DL presents PC Mark Murphy with his award.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to retired Detective Constable, Graham Blomfield. Worcester resident 'Blom', as he is known to friends, colleagues and local residents, has devoted his career to fighting crime and supporting new staff. He joined West Mercia Constabulary in 1974 as a cadet and in 1976 as an officer. In the late 70s he piloted a new drug liaison role, which later became the force's Drugs Squad. He worked in the anti-drugs arena until 2000, when he started training officers in investigating cases that involved communication data such as telephones, mobiles and the internet.

The Excellence in Policing Award was given to PC Simon Northcott of Bridgnorth, Shropshire Division.

Criminal Investigator of the Year is Detective Constable Philip Christie of Wyre Forest, North Worcestershire Division.

The Mary Court Award for Student Officer of the Year was rpesented to PC Michelle Clarke of Droitwich.

he award for Local Policing Team of the Year went to PC Lindsey Hewitt, CSO John Fleetwood and CSO Tony Bosley of Church Hill North, Redditch, Worcestershire Division.

Community Police Officer of the Year is Redditch South and Rural PC Richard Waterhouse who has been a Local Policing Officer in the South West & Rural Communities of Redditch for 17 years. He has previously received both a divisional and two Chief Constable's commendations for his outstanding service. PC Waterhouse is also winner of the Andre Grant Trophy for North Worcestershire Division.

Divisional Community Police Officers of the Year are: Perrins Trophy, South Worcestershire Division PC Andrew Hood of Tenbury.

The Meynell Trophy, Shropshire Division was awarded to PC Scott Smither of Shrewbury. PC Smither is an enthusiastic and extremely hard working officer who is totally dedicated to his role. This dedication was displayed when, two days after having a heart attack, he handed his superior officer a list of tasks for his CSOs and events he was running that he asked to be completed.

The Michael Lowe Trophy, Telford & Wrekin Division went to PC Louise Hickman of Telford.

The High Sheriff's Millennium Trophy for Community Support Officers was presented to Susan Tomlinson of Shrewsbury.

The High Sheriff's Trophy for Special Constables went to Special Constable Chris Cookson of Kidderminster, North Worcestershire. Chris has been serving his community for most of his adult life, from his early career in the Royal Navy, later in the Territorial Army and for the last 20 years within the West Mercia Special Constabulary. He has worked with regularity, diligence and enthusiasm and has been rewarded by steady progress through ranks to achieve the highest divisional rank possible for a Special Constable that of Divisional Commandant.

Special Constable Student Officer of the Year is Special Constable Kirsty Garratt of Telford Division.

The Diversity in Action Team Award,new for this year, was awarded to Sergeant Edward Hancox, PC Noel Metcalf, Maria Hawkaluk, (Media Officer) and Jade Smalley (Administrator).

The Dog Team of the Year Award went to PC Oliver Bowen-Jones and Police dogs, Roscoe and Murphy of South Worcestershire. PC Bowen-Jones joined the Dog Section in 2007 and quickly established himself as a competent and keen handler. Together with police dog Roscoe he consistently produces excellent work. In the past twelve months he has achieved the required standard to attend and pass a firearms support course and has also achieved a national accreditation in drugs-related detection with police dog Murphy.

The Len Morris Sports Trophy was presented to PC Tim Larrad of the Training & Development Department. Tim has represented the force at skiing, winning silver at the 2007 Police Championships and finishing second in the British team at the 2009 Police European Ski Championships. He also represents West Mercia Police in the annual London Regional Nordic Ski Club marathon.

Manager of the Year, (Police Staff) is Karolyn Brookes, Strategy & Change Unit Manager; Strategy, Performance & Communications Dept.

The Chief Constable's Trophy was presented to Rob Hall, Personnel Manager. Rob has worked tirelessly as the chair of LINK, the support network for officers and staff from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities. He has helped in both individual and sensitive issues and raising LGBT issues in the force-wide, regional and national arenas.

An Outstanding Contribution Award went to Sue Bakewell, Business Systems Development Manager, Call Management Centre.

Manager of the Year, (Police Officer). The recipient of this ward has requested no publicity.

Congratulations and our thanks go to all.


Conservative parliamentary candidate Jesse Norman has congratulated the Ross Youth Forum on winning £200 in a 'Dragons' Den' -style contest held at the Herefordshire 6th Form College last week. Led by Chair, Ricky Barlow, The Youth Forum's winning bid was to repaint the walls of the skate park in Ross with colourful new images, replacing the rather messy and offensive graffiti there at present.

Jesse was one of the judges in the contest last week, which pitted the Ross Youth Forum against two other local youth groups for the prize. The event was part of a national competition worth £60,000 called the Big Challenge, which encourages anyone aged 16-25 to come forward with innovative ideas to solve local social problems.

After the contest Jesse said, 'I normally spend my time cleaning graffiti off the walls, not supporting it! But I and the other judges thought this was such an innovative approach that it really demanded support. With luck local young people will respect and enjoy the new images. And I hope as many other youth groups as possible across the county will submit their own ideas to the Big Challenge.'

The closing date for entries to the Big Challenge is 28th September 2009. The number to telephone for enquiries is 0207 566 1129. Entries can be submitted online via, or by post to Big Challenge, UnLtd, 123 Whitecross Street London EC1Y 8JJ.


Ross Library is host another series of Chatterbooks events from 17th September, which will give children aged between eight and twelve years the opportunity to share books and stories, as well as meet other children. The aim of Chatterbooks is to encourage a love and enjoyment of reading as well as having a great time in the library. Councillor Adrian Blackshaw said, 'Youngsters don't need to be bookworms to join in as there are plenty of games, stories and exciting things to be involved in, as well as collecting stickers, pencils, folders and other goodies.'

Teachers and parents have noticed that children who develop a wider love of books are more responsive to literacy work in schools. Libraries are ideally placed to support children who either already read widely or need help to engage with books, and the Chatterbooks book group scheme is both rewarding and fun. The Chatterbooks group will meet on a fortnightly basis from Thursday, 17th September between 5 and 6pm.

Chatterbooks will also begin operating in Ledbury on 17th September, from 4pm until 4.45pm and a weekly group will be operating in Leominster on Saturday, 3rd October from 2pm until 3pm.

For further information, contact Ross Library on 01432 383250, Leominster Library on 01432 383290 and Ledbury Library on 01531 632133.


West Mercia Police are thanking the public for their support of this year's West Mercia Police Help for Heroes event after more than 12,000 people attended. The huge fund-raising event was held at Police HQ, Hindlip Hall, Worcester on Sunday, 6th September. West Mercia Police is the only force in the country to organize a major event to back Help for Heroes and proceeds from this year's event will go towards helping injured soldiers get their lives back on track. Some of the money raised will go specifically to 'rehabilitation houses' where soldiers recover from their injuries and learn to live with any disabilities they may have received.

Sergeant Al Short, from the force's Dog Section, organized the event in his own time supported by a dedicated team of volunteers who all gave their time free of charge. He said, 'It was an incredible response from the public. We have collected so much money that we aren't going to be sure how much we have raised for a couple of days, but I am sure we smashed last year's total of £26,000.'

Visitors to the show enjoyed an amazing variety of aircraft and vehicles at close hand, including 10 helicopters, classic police cars, Household Cavalry tanks and sports cars such as Aston Martin's Le Mans 24 model and Richard Burns's World Rally-winning Subaru Impreza. There were aerial displays by a Spitfire, a Hercules and stunt planes, while a Sea King helicopter left the event to climb to 8,000ft where the military's Pilgrims Freefall Parachute Display Team jumped back down to the display field. One of the day's highlights was the displays by West Mercia Police Dog Section, who were put through their paces for the crowds along with dogs from the RAF. There were also demonstrations from Hereford & Worcester Fire & Rescue Service and West Midlands Ambulance. Younger visitors were particularly excited to see a host of well known movie characters mingling with the crowds, including Darth Vader, a squad of Storm Troopers, Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swann from Pirates of the Caribbean, and Batman.

They were joined by some real-life heroes when Falklands conflict veteran and burns campaigner Simon Weston and a number of recovering injured military personnel were in attendance and ready to talk to the public about their experiences. This included Corporal Tom Neathway from the 2nd Battalion of The Parachute Regiment and the British services' first female front-line amputee, Captain Kate Philp. Captain Philp, who lost her lower left leg in November 2008 while in Afghanistan with the Royal Artillery, said, 'It was brilliant that the general public backed the event so strongly and showed support for what we are doing. It was a great day out, but also really important for raising awareness. My recovery is going well and rehab has been fantastic. However, the numbers of casualties in Afghanistan is rising all the time and the facilities we have need to be able to cope with that. The funds raised by West Mercia Police will really help with that.'

Sergeant Short said, 'The response from the public was unbelievable, so much so we were overwhelmed with people and we would like to thank all those who waited so patiently for transport to and from the site. We did our best to accommodate everyone by extending the hours and putting on extra dog displays, so we hope no one missed out. We've already had loads of phone calls and emails of thanks, which makes the team's hard work worthwhile. We hope everyone enjoyed the event as much as we did. It was great to see all the services - emergency and military - working together to make the day such a success and to raise not just money but awareness of how much help these young heroes need from us all.'

The full list of attractions was: Flying displays from the Rolls Royce Spitfire, a Stampe Bi-plane and Tailors Titch stunt plane and a Fly past from an RAF Hercules. Static helicopters displays included a Royal Marines Sea King, a Griffin and Squirrel from RAF Shawbury, a Scout, Allouette and Skeeter from the Historic Air Flight, the Met Police EC145 and the Air Ambulance. The Pilgrims Parachute Display Team, A Challenger II tank and Scimitar light gun from the Hussars and Household Cavalry and there were a number of historic military vehicles; The West Midland Ambulance H.A.R.T team, The West Midlands Fire & Rescue Urban Search Team, 15 historic police vehicles and RAF fire engines. There were also 10 modern police vehicles, 6 large trucks and the Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA). A Prodrive Le Mans DB9 was also on display, as was Richard Burns WRC winning Subaru. Film doubles included Jack Sparrow, Darth Vader, Batman and Storm Troopers. There was a silent auction for sporting memorabilia and holiday vouchers.

All military aircraft attending were training craft that cannot be used in combat. All police officers and service personnel were volunteers and gave their time free of charge.

Police dog displays.

Police helicopter and cars on display.

Fauklands conflict veteran and burns campaigner, Simon Weston.

A Sea King Helicopter flying display.


The recent death of Harry Patch, the last UK Veteran of the First World War, has brought to an end a significant era in British History. To mark this historic occasion, a National Service of Thanksgiving to commemorate the passing of the First World War Generation is to be held at Westminster Abbey on Wednesday, 11th November 2009, at 11am.

The service will take place in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, along with many distinguished people from public life and will be broadcast on BBC Television. The Lord-Lieutenant of Herefordshire, Lady Darnley, has been asked to identify 6 people from Herefordshire to be invited to the Service in Westminster Abbey, and each may be accompanied by a spouse/partner or other relative, a carer or friend. Those wishing to be considered for an invitation should be related or connected to someone who saw service in the First World War.

To obtain an application form, telephone the Lord-Lieutenant's Office on 01432 260494 or contact your local Royal British Legion Branch. The closing date for the return of completed applications is Thursday, 1st October 2009. If there are more applicants than places available, the Lord-Lieutenant will conduct a ballot.


Local rail campaigner and Conservative candidate Jesse Norman last week submitted a 1,000 signature petition of local residents in support of the county's bid to upgrade the railways. Jesse handed over the petition last week at Hereford Station to Councillor Brian Wilcox, Cabinet member for Highways and Transportation.

The petition comes in support of submissions to the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority by the Council and by public interest group Rail for Herefordshire. It calls on the Secretary of State to upgrade the railway infrastructure in the county, with a special focus on the twin-tracking of the Hereford to Ledbury line.

Speaking afterwards, Jesse said, 'Upgrading our railways is crucial to the sustainable, long term development of the county. So I am delighted to be able to work both with Herefordshire Council and Rail for Herefordshire to make the case for new investment in a concerted and united way. And it is especially good that the Council has strongly supported badly needed improvements to the Hereford to Ledbury line.

With railways, as with our schools and hospitals, we get a lousy deal in Herefordshire from central government. This petition demonstrates yet again the strength of local feeling on this issue. We must and will continue to push for improvements.'

Jesse hands over the petition to Councillor Brian Wilcox.


The most important jobs fair in Herefordshire will be taking place at The Shirehall, Hereford on Thursday, 17th September, where local organizations will be working together to provide help, support and advice for the unemployed.

Herefordshire Council and NHS Herefordshire are working in partnership with Jobcentre Plus and other partners to co-ordinate Jobs Fair Extra, which will run from 10am until 3pm. The event will give job seekers the chance to apply for current vacancies in the county, as well as get job search tips and their will be informal workshops throughout the day where job seekers can pick up essential tips on completing application forms and improving interview techniques. Jobs Fair Extra will be attended by local employers with job opportunities in a range of sectors including retail, customer service, clerical, manufacturing and care.

Sheila Thompson of Herefordshire Council said, 'In today's economic climate, identifying where there are vacancies is only the first hurdle for job seekers There is significantly more competition for jobs, which means that people are taking longer to find work, so the council and the primary care trust are committed to offering as much support as we can to unemployed people during this time.'

There will be information stands run by organizations such as Jobcentre Plus, Citizens Advice Bureau, Connexions, Tribal Resourcing and Riverside Training so those attending will be able to obtain guidance on training for a new career, improving their CV and dealing with debt and benefits issues.

Anyone unable to attend the event can call the Jobcentre Plus hotline 0845 6060 234. To make a benefit claim, people should call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 66 88. For further information about the event, please contact Syma Malik at Herefordshire Council on 01432 261903.


NHS Herefordshire and Herefordshire Carers Support are offering a free course for adults who care for someone with long-term health problems or a disability. It is estimated that up to 20,000 people in Herefordshire are caring for and supporting someone so the primary care trust is teaming up with Herefordshire Carers Support to offer a new course that helps carers take more control of their situation and make a positive difference to their own lives too.

The course is called 'Looking after Me' and deals with relaxation techniques to help overcome tiredness, coping with depression, exercise, healthy eating and communicating with family, friends and professionals to plan for the future. There will also be information available on carer's rights or benefits, and information about practical caring skills such as lifting and handling. The course will be led by trained volunteer tutors, who themselves have experience caring for a relative or friend.

The course is run over six weekly sessions lasting two and a half hours each and provides an opportunity to meet others who share similar experiences. The next 'Looking After Me' course starts on 6th October in Hereford. For further information about the course or to book, contact Sue Tobey of NHS Herefordshire on 01432 383538 or email


Sarah Carr, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Hereford and South Herefordshire has urged health service planners in Hereford to rethink their plans to build a controversial new, GP Led Health Centre on a large section of the Stonebow Unit gardens.

The Stonebow Unit, located next to Herefordís County Hospital provides mental health inpatient services including care for dementia type illnesses for people in Herefordshire. The gardens are valued by patients and clinicians as being very beneficial to patientsí recovery. Sarah said, 'Over the past 12 months I have repeatedly questioned the need for £1.5million being spent on a new health centre when we already have good availability of GPs in Hereford who are well known and trusted by their patients. I have now been contacted by many local people who are appalled that local health planners want to build the controversial centre on the Stonebow gardens.'

On Wednesday, 9th September, Sarah attended a packed meeting hosted by NHS Herefordshire and joined doctors, nurses and patients in condemning the location for the controversial new centre as being detrimental to patients and clinicians of the Stonebow Unit. At the meeting Sarah urged representatives from NHS Herefordshire to think again and not build on the Stonebow Unit gardens. Many GP leaders have heavily criticized the GP-led walk in centres often referred to as Polyclinics or super surgeries as they will repeat services already offered by the NHS locally. NHS Herefordshire has responded to local pressure saying they are instead providing a local solution from the polyclinic proposal.

Sarah continues to scrutinize the plans and said, 'The Stonebow Unit gardens are an oasis for many people. One in four people are affected by mental health problems. Here in Herefordshire already 25% of the population is over 65 and dementia is a growing issue. The Stonebow Unit and its dedicated staff do incredibly important work and it must not be undermined. I will continue to work with local people and represent their views to health service planners and providers in Herefordshire.'


A man who was jailed for five years after deceiving people into buying food he said was organic has been ordered to pay back £345,576. Forty seven year old Paul Richard Rye, formerly of Belvedere Lane, Shrewsbury, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of obtaining money transfers by deception, fraud and money laundering offences at Shrewsbury Crown Court and was sentenced to five years imprisonment at the same court on 19th June this year.

At a hearing at Shrewsbury Crown Court on Monday, 7th September, Judge Onions set the confiscation order for Rye. The judge determined that Rye's benefit from his general criminal conduct to the value of £605,000 and also declared the available amount held by Rye for confiscation was £345,576. The judge ordered the money should be paid in 28 days and imposed a default sentence of four years imprisonment for failure to honour the order.

Officers from West Mercia Police's Economic Crime Unit fraud department arrested Rye back in July 2008 in Broadway, Worcestershire. Some of his victims were elderly and vulnerable and he targeted people across Shropshire and Wales. Rye sold pies and eggs door to door which he marketed as organic. However, Rye had actually bought the products at conventional supermarkets, some of which were mass produced. The scam had been going on for eight years.

During the course of the initial investigation, police searched two addresses known to have been used by Rye and recovered items which showed he had a number of bank accounts in the UK and one in Canada. On the 28th August 2008, the Asset Recovery Unit obtained a restraint order against Rye in respect of all bank accounts and other assets that included the account in Montreal, Canada, that were held by him. This effectively meant his funds were frozen and prevented Rye from accessing, moving or dealing with his money. In February this year, as a result of liaison with the Canadian authorities, West Mercia Police Asset Recovery Unit repatriated the funds from Montreal. The total was more than £340,000.

Detective Constable Andy Denton, from West Mercia Police's Economic Crime Unit, said, 'This man abused the trust of regular customers who bought food from him over a long period of time. Because he claimed the products were organic or homemade Rye was able to charge up to five times as much money from victims. The investigations by the Asset Recovery Team and Fraud Squad mean that he has been convicted, jailed and had his funds seized. This sends out the right message that we will pursue offenders who try and benefit from crime.'


Herefordshire Council has agreed to adopt a revised Joint Municipal Waste Strategy with its partners Worcestershire County Council. The revised strategy was agreed at Cabinet on Thursday, 10th September and sets out the long term aspirations for waste collection and disposal across the two counties. First published in 2004, the strategy continues until 2034 and has been revised to take into account the National Waste Strategy for England and Wales 2007 as well as the climate change agenda.

Councillor John Jarvis said, 'The main principle of the strategy is that we, as local authorities, work together to reduce the amount of waste that is sent to landfill. We have been set stringent targets by Government to reduce the amount we send to landfill and to achieve this, we will be promoting food waste prevention, reuse of items, recycling and composting, energy recovery and, as a last resort, safe disposal to landfill.

In Herefordshire, we have a new recycling service starting on 2nd November, where all materials that can be recycled can be placed in one wheeled bin. This will not only increase the amount we recycle but will also, due to the wide range of materials that can be accepted, reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, so I would urge all county residents to fully support the new scheme.

All of the recyclable materials, including glass, paper, card, cans and certain plastics, will be collected from households, sorted at the Envirosort material reclamation facility in Worcestershire and then turned into materials that can be used again.'

The revised strategy was developed after carrying out wide ranging consultation with residents, businesses and other interested parties.

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