An officer who has been praised by Crown Court judges for her investigative work has been presented with the prestigious Frank Mason Memorial Award.
Detective Constable Laura Brine was given the accolade which is awarded each year in memory of the off duty police officer, who was fatally wounded while intervening in a robbery in Hemel Hempstead town centre in 1988.
PC Mason had been walking his dog on April 14 when he saw a security van being held up by armed robbers in Bank Court.
He displayed enormous courage and tackled the gunmen but during his attempt to make an arrest, he was shot and sadly died, aged just 27 years old, despite efforts to save him.
As a result of his intervention the security guard was able to get to safety.
The award is presented each year to a Dacorum-based officer who has displayed PC Mason’s qualities of dedication, professionalism and selflessness in protecting the community.
The winner is nominated by their colleagues and selected by senior officers in the borough.
Laura, who has been based with the Dacorum Local Crime Unit (LCU) for two years, which works alongside the Safer Neighbourhood Team to investigation incidents such as burglaries, assaults and robberies, was presented with the award by Dacorum Detective Inspector Matt Waylett during a ceremony held today (Friday, April 12) at The Forum in Hemel Hempstead.
Frank’s widow Jill and his mother Margaret attended the presentation along with police officers, the Constabulary’s Chief Constable Charlie Hall, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner David Gibson and dignitaries, including Hemel Hempstead MP, the Rt Hon Sir Mike Penning.
Presenting the award DI Waylett said: “The Frank Mason Award is the highest honour that Dacorum police can bestow upon its police officers however, let us not forget why we are here today.
“There are people here that remember Frank – colleagues, friends and the public – who, side by side pay tribute to a good guy that tried to do the right thing.
“Jill and Margaret there is nothing that we can do to take away the pain of losing the man that you loved as a wife and as a mother. Your Francis was a member of our police family and you are forever a member of our police family.
“When we think of him, we think of you, and the 31 years that you have missed with him. We hope that in some small way, remembering him in this way provides some comfort to you.”
Upon joining the LCU in Dacorum, having previously been based with the Intervention team in Hemel Hempstead, Laura was in charge of investigating a complex case into a series of brothels, which resulted in two offenders pleading guilty to running a brothel.
They are due to be sentenced in June.
She has also helped to bring many other offenders to justice and has given support to numerous families who have lost loved ones, for which she has been praise by the Coroner for Hertfordshire.
DI Waylett said: “Laura has been with the Dacorum Local Crime Unit for two years now and has had many successes, which each demonstrate her strong work ethic, tenacity and how significantly she has developed her investigative skills.
“Above all else, Laura is passionate about catching and convicting the worst of our community and puts an incredible amount of effort to do so.
“Laura has been a pleasure to work with and an example to her peers. She is a deserved winner.”
Following the presentation, a memorial service was held in Bank Court, during which the Constabulary’s Chief Constable Charlie Hall gave a speech. Wreaths were then laid before a minute’s silence was held.
DC Brine, who joined Hertfordshire Constabulary in 2009, said: “I have wanted to be a detective since I was very young and I’m very proud to do the job I do, largely made a lot easier by my brilliant colleagues.
“I am deeply humbled to have been given the Frank Mason Memorial Award and I am very proud to join a long list of exceptional officers who have won previously, with only a very small number of these being women.
“I work with incredible officers who go above and beyond on a daily basis for the residents of Dacorum, so to be nominated and win this prestigious award is truly an honour.”