Courageous police officers who rescued people from Luton building fire receive Chief Constable commendation

Several members of the public were in the street, screaming that there were people inside properties

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 4:47 pm

Brave police officers who entered smoke-filled burning buildings in Luton to evacuate those in danger have been recognised for their courage.

Detective Sergeant Ian Holden and his colleagues heard shouting and discovered a large fire at a property to the rear of the Buxton Road police station.

There were several members of the public in the street, screaming that there were people in the building and the adjoining properties were also beginning to fill with smoke.

The virtual commendation
The virtual commendation

The officers immediately took the brave decision to enter these neighbouring buildings. They forced entry into one building and managed to search up to the top floor, but were driven back by smoke.

All four officers then forced entry into the next neighbouring property as this was also full of smoke. They checked for people inside and removed them whilst the building was on fire.

Whilst the officers were being driven out of the buildings by smoke, they continued to enter and evacuate people at risk.

The incident took place in July 2019 and the officers received Chief Constable commendations on Thursday, May 6 in a celebration of outstanding police work.

Chief Constable Garry Forsyth hosted the virtual ceremony for the award winners as well as their friends and family – the first commendation ceremony held by the force since the start of the pandemic.

Also recognised was Detective Constable Jason Wheeler from Bedfordshire Police’s specialist Operation Maze burglary team for his investigation into a series of distraction burglaries, as well as the care he provided to a number of elderly victims. The offender was eventually sentenced to five years in prison.

Special Constables Tracey Bateman and Antony Harris were commended for their bravery in dealing with violence between rival football fans in 2019, where they prevented some disorder from escalating prior to the arrival of their colleagues.

And police officers and staff who dismantled a Russian organised crime group, as well as officers who secured changes to legislation to protect vulnerable children were commended too.

“We have heard stories of immense bravery, professionalism and quick thinking from a wide range of officers, staff and volunteers from across the organisation and I am extremely proud of all of them," said Chief Constable Forsyth.

“The outstanding efforts of these award winners have genuinely saved people’s lives and made a massive impact to the lives of many people across Bedfordshire.

“Recognising their efforts is one of my favourite things to do as Chief Constable and I continue to be blown away by their bravery, courage and professionalism.”