Four of the region’s “brave and committed” police officers have been celebrated at an awards ceremony that featured a shortlist of more than 100 of their colleagues.
Officers from Aberdeenshire and Inverness won two of the six accolades at this year’s Scottish Police Federation awards, held annually to celebrate the “courage and excellence” demonstrated by those men and women on the beat.
A trio of officers in Aberdeenshire picked up the Group Bravery award for their handling of a brutal murder at a home in Cumineston, near Turriff, in June 2019.
Constables Dayle Crawford, Alison Davis and James Will were first on the scene and found 51-year-old Anthony McGladrigan fatally wounded, with his killer still armed and in the home.
Ceremony attendees heard how Mr McGladrigan had allowed a man who was being chased by drug-fuelled killer Liam Hay to take refuge in his home and consequently was fatally stabbed.
The killer pled guilty to a charge of murder at the High Court in Glasgow and now the trio of officers who arrested him have been commended for the way they dealt with the “unprecedented” murder scene.
Meanwhile, Inverness beat officer Brad O’Neill was handed the Community Commitment Award for his “people-focused policing” and efforts within the Merkinch and South Kessock area.
The 45-year-old’s caring feats include helping secure internet access for one school pupil during lockdown, taking an isolated man out to lunch and fixing a single mum’s bicycle.
PC O’Neill’s on-street presence in his patch, known locally as ‘The Ferry’, also led to the detection of some serious crimes including a rape and serious assault.
Speaking after the award was announced, he told the Press and Journal he was “absolutely delighted” to have picked up the award and found himself “inspired” by the other stories shared at the ceremony, which he attended with his wife.
“It was humbling to be amongst such worthy nominees and other winners,” the officer of 23 years added.
“I really wanted to champion what we do in the community and to challenge the status quo of policing by exposing what we can do when we lower our defences and open our hearts to people’s needs and troubles.
“This shows we can make an impact not just individually but as a team of community officers. It builds on mutual respect.
“I’m so pleased.”
‘Officers step forward with bravery’
Chief Constable Iain Livingstone added: “Every minute of every day, Police Scotland officers step forward with bravery, compassion and professionalism to protect their fellow citizens.
“I thank and pay tribute to our officers and their families for their commitment and public service.
“I am grateful to the Scottish Police Federation for underlining and recognising the courage and excellence demonstrated by police officers in Scotland to keep people safe.”
Mr Livingstone attended the awards ceremony at Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh on Thursday evening alongside cabinet secretary for justice Keith Brown and Scottish Police Authority chairman Martyn Evans.
David Hamilton, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, said officers have faced “unprecedented challenges” during the last two years.
“The winners thoroughly deserve their prizes, but all the nominees should be proud of what they have achieved and the work they have carried out,” he said.
“They have demonstrated the very best of policing, and we should unashamedly celebrate the men and women who work so hard every day to keep Scotland’s streets safe.”
A full list of award winners can be found on the Scottish Police Federation website.