A TEAM of officers deployed to help those whose lives were devastated by Hurricane Irma have been honoured at a special ceremony.

The team of ten from Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police dropped everything to fly out to the British Virgin Islands when disaster struck.

With little notice, five officers from Hampshire and five from Thames Valley headed out in September to a scene that has been described as something from a disaster movie.

With no running water or mains electricity, no roof on their accommodation and dangerous criminals out on the run after the prison was severely damaged, this team showed great determination and bravery to help those in need.

During their three week deployment they helped to secure the prisoners, assisted the military with establishing water and electricity supplies and cleared dangerous debris from neighbourhoods.

Most days saw the team working at least 16 hours a day and any ‘downtime’ saw officers back out in the community, helping residents to rebuild their homes.

This was all done in searing 40 degree heat while wearing their uniforms, which are designed for British weather, not the Caribbean.

Food was also in short supply and the team relied on basic rations to get them through.

They even refused to leave when a second category five hurricane hit the island, insisting that they wanted to be there for those who needed them most.

Hampshire’s Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney and Thames Valley’s Chief Constable Francis Habgood had the honour of presenting the awards on behalf of both forces.

Chief Constable Pinkney said: “It was a tremendous honour to present these awards to officers from Hampshire and the Thames Valley.

“These officers are a true credit to the policing family and the communities they serve.

“These officers have dealt with some of the most challenging situations that any officer can face and they have shown nothing but great professionalism and compassion.

“I am so proud of them all and residents living in Hampshire and the Thames Valley should take great comfort in knowing that such dedicated officers are working hard every day to make our communities safer.”

Chief Constable Habgood added: “These officers provided security, support and compassion in really difficult circumstances.

“I know that the islanders were incredibly grateful for their presence and the officers were pleased to have been there to help them. I am very proud of them”

Chief Constable Congratulations

Hampshire officers

Insp Alex Reading

PC Stuart Woods

PC Terry Cooke

PC David Tester

PC Martin Daniels

Thames Valley officers

Sgt David Keith

PC Simon Gray

PC David Kuttner

PC Jonathan Evans

PC Sean O’Neil