THE outstanding bravery and professionalism of Hampshire police officers has been celebrated with a special ceremony.

The Joint Operations Unit (JOU) Commendations Ceremony saw 22 officers and staff recognised for excellent service and courage when confronted with daunting and challenging situations.

The individuals were honoured at the ceremony hosted by JOU chief superintendent Stephen Williams.

The JOU is a collaboration between Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police which covers operations, roads policing and firearms.

Chief supt. Williams said: “Being able to celebrate the outstanding bravery and dedication of our officers and staff is a great honour.

“Despite being confronted with armed suspects or faced with harrowing life or death situations, these officers have not hesitated to do their very best for the protection of others.

“Our officers and staff within the JOU are deployed to some of the most challenging and often dangerous incidents due to their expertise in specialist areas and it makes me extremely proud to see how they go above and beyond to help make our communities safer.”

Among those recognised was firearms officer PC Warren Mason, who helped to save the life of a critically injured man.

PC Mason and three colleagues were on patrol in Southampton on December 15 last year when they came across a man who had been hit by a car on The Avenue.

The 28-year-old man had multiple life-threatening injuries including a catastrophic bleed from his back.

The team began first aid until paramedics arrived, but such was the seriousness of the injuries, they were needed to assist the paramedics for a further 20 minutes until he was stable enough to be moved. The injury to the man’s back was so severe that the paramedics at the scene said that the actions of these officers saved the man’s life.

DS Gavin Collier, PC Ian Bailey, Sgt Mark Furse, PC Lucy Hawkins, PC Dave Mitchell and PC Adam Leech of the Roads Policing Unit helped track down the driver involved in a fatal hit-and-run.

On April 28 last year, a cyclist was struck by a vehicle on the A338 near Fordingbridge.

The vehicle failed to stop, leaving the cyclist lying fatally injured in the middle of the road. He died several days later.

There was little evidence, but extensive forensic, CCTV and surveillance work by the team resulted in a vehicle being identified and a suspect was eventually arrested.

PC Nicola Sarjeant of Roads Policing was also recognised for her work as a family liaison officer for the bereaved families of two men who died following a collision on the M271 in December 2015.