One of Cumbria Constabulary’s family liaison officers (FLOs) has been recognised for his outstanding commitment to supporting bereaved families.
PC Nick Johns was named the winner of the Family Award in the 2020 FLO Awards.
The awards which are organised by the road safety charity, Brake, showcase best practice in supporting families following a road death or serious injury.
The Family Award winner is nominated by families who had been supported by a FLO.
The judges commended PC Johns for:
- Going above and beyond to alleviate the stress that the nominating family was exposed to following a road death.
- His compassion and commitment meaning the nominating family felt supported at every stage of the process.
- The nominating family also praised him for helping them work through their emotions in a healthy way, and said he has become a “massive part of their lives” during and after the case.
PC Johns was nominated by the family of Barrow man John Harkins, who died following a collision in the Leeds area in November 2016.
PC Johns, who works in the Constabulary’s Tactical Support Group in south Cumbria, has conducted the FLO role for seven years in addition to his normal policing duties.
PC Nick Johns said: “This was such an unexpected honour and I am really touched and humbled that John’s family have gone to the effort to nominate me for such an award, when they are still grieving. We do not do this role for praise or recognition.
“There are many people that I’d like to thank for this award and it would be impossible to note every single person that supports me. However, I’d like to thank Sgt Ann Drury, DC Lindsey Pickles and the investigation team from West Yorkshire Police who carried out a tireless and diligent investigation which resulted in the conviction of the driver, who was jailed for over six years for causing death by dangerous driving and perverting the course of justice.
“I’d also especially like to thank Jodie and her family who lost their son, brother and uncle. They showed such strength and dignity throughout the investigation and the subsequent court process, whilst dealing with their unimaginable pain and loss of John.
“The role of a FLO is a challenging one, you are the person that presents a family with life-changing news and it is your role to guide and support them through such a traumatic time. Helping a grieving family understand the process and what has happened can be incredibly tough. However, it is a vital role which my colleagues in Cumbria and the wider policing service do to support families at such a difficult time.”
Chief Constable Michelle Skeer, Cumbria Constabulary, said: “I would like congratulate to Nick for his fantastic and well-deserved achievement. The work of all FLOs in providing care to families when they need it most is essential and one which can go unseen by the majority of the public.
“Nick’s award is particularly special as the initial nomination came from a family he supported. The comments from the judges underline just how important Nick has been to the family in helping them deal with such a tragic incident.
“The exemplary service that Nick provides is an inspiration to us all at the Constabulary. I’m delighted that he has been recognised for the service he provides to the people of Cumbria.”
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “I’m delighted for Nick that his outstanding dedication and commitment to the incredibly difficult challenge of being a family liaison officer has been recognised, rightly honoured and celebrated.
“It is easy to be unaware of the many roles officers perform in support of the public and family liaison officer is possibly one of the most important, and challenging.
“It is a difficult task to help families in times of incredible emotional difficulty when empathy, practical help and compassion are the key ingredients.
“Nick has been an exemplar to us all and this public recognition is richly deserved.
“Unexpected bereavement has a lasting effect on family and friends and to see a Cumbrian police officer, like so many of his colleagues, go above and beyond demonstrates the highest standards of the police service.
“I offer my most sincere congratulations and thanks to PC Johns for his exceptional service – it is well deserved.”
PC Johns’ colleague and fellow family liaison officer PC Nicola Welton was shortlisted for the Excellent Longstanding Service category. The ceremony was held online in mid-November.