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Assault victim inspired to join police after attack and Elgin officer keeping teens away from crime honoured among Scotland’s top cops

Police officer of the year – Constable Jamie Dey
Police officer of the year – Constable Jamie Dey

Three police officers from the north and north-east have been recognised in the Chief Constable’s Bravery and Excellence Awards 2021.

The award winners were announced on Friday during an online ceremony attended by nominees and their families.

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone presented the awards and commended all those who were recognised.

“The last 12 months has been an intense and demanding year, underlining the relentless nature of policing,” he said.

“Helping those in crisis goes to the heart of policing’s core values and purpose. Today’s awards remind us of the individual acts undertaken to that end every day, right across Scotland.”

Police officer of the year – Constable Jamie Dey

Constable Jamie Dey is a community officer who was born and raised in Elgin. He joined the force in 2015 with the hopes of making it a better place for young people to live.

His work promoting positive lifestyle choices has contributed to a 65% reduction in disturbance calls in the area.

Speaking about the award, he said: “I’m delighted, I really didn’t expect it at all. Even just to be nominated was a massive achievement so to win it, I’m a bit speechless to be honest.”

Constable Dey drove the Moray Re:connect Project and said his connection with it is one of the proudest moments of his career so far.

The project creates free activities for young people in the area, including street football, to pull them away from getting involved in youth crime.

“Because I was brought up in Elgin I know there has never been a lot of stuff to do,” he explained.

“Setting up the Re:connect programme in general was a massive task but, working alongside the council and other partners, once we got it off the ground we saw the impact it was having.

“My proudest achievement is the number of partners and youths that have seen it working and then jumped onboard.”

He is planning on spending the rest of the day celebrating with his family.

Special constable of the year – Stephen Booth

Stephen Booth was inspired to become a special constable after he himself was a victim of an assault.

“The way the officers who dealt with it treated me during the course of the investigation, keeping me updated and offering me support, that encouraged me to try and do something,” he said.

Mr Booth had a hard time readjusting to life after the assault and sought counselling to help with his mental health.

After being inspired by a TV show where celebrities were trained as special constables, he attended a recruitment event with all his paperwork in hand, mind already made up that he wanted to join the force.

“It sounds cliche but it’s putting something back into the local community, that’s the most rewarding thing,” he explained.

“It’s everything from going out and finding a missing person to speaking to someone who is maybe having thoughts of self harm, encouraging them to speak about it and get help.

Special constables Jonathan Bellarby and Stephen Booth.

“I think my experience helps because you can see it from a victim’s perspective, you have some insight into what they’re going through.”

Mr Booth wanted to highlight the work of those around him and their role in his journey to receiving the award.

He said: “It’s quite humbling really. I’m only a small part of a fantastic team in Inverurie, we’re all dedicated to supporting the local regular officers.

“It’s down to those special constables and regulars who have welcomed me in the last couple of years and given me the guidance to get out and get involved in the local community.”

Special constable of the year – Jonathan Bellarby

Jonathan Bellarby joined the special constabulary in June 2018 after an incident with a family member made him admire those in the force.

He spoke about the moments in his role that feel the most rewarding.

“I feel deeply honoured and appreciate my colleagues who put me up for this award,” he said.

“I’ve attended some serious incidents and I’ve had to do things like CPR on individuals. It’s that kind of thing, helping the public that is probably the most rewarding out of everything.”

Over a 12 month period, he dedicated a total of 1,185 voluntary hours, the most hours of any special constable within the division.

Based in Aviemore, Mr Bellarby said he enjoys working in a rural environment: “Being a special constable in a rural area, I get to deal with a huge variety of incidents and that has kept me going, the variety and the quality of the officers I’m working with.”

Instead of celebrating on Friday afternoon, he is picking up another shift.

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