One of Cheshire’s longest-standing roads policing Family Liaison Officers (FLOs) has been recognised for his hard work and dedication with a national award.
Two Cheshire officers were in the running for the Excellent Longstanding Service Award at the 2019 Brake FLO Awards.
And PC Tony Hayhust was announced as the winner at the ceremony, which was held at the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday, 3 July.
Among the 10 other nominees was PC Nick Anderton, who scooped the ‘highly commended’ award for the category.
Tony has formally served as an FLO for more than 11 years and has provided support to more than 100 families.
He was awarded the accolade for his ability to overcome challenging situations. In particular, his creative and innovative work in a case where the victim was a foreign national, and the bereaved family lived overseas.
A particular highlight for the judges was Tony’s exceptional commitment to family liaison, which led in once case to him personally transporting donated organs to Cambridgeshire for the NHS.
One of his most noteworthy achievements followed a fatal collision in 2010 where Matthew, a 21 year old man sadly lost his life. Tony supported the family through a very difficult time and recognised an opportunity to make a positive outcome from a tragic situation.
As he had built up an excellent relationship with the family, he approached them to discuss the idea of mounting Matthew’s severely damaged vehicle on a trailer to use as an impactive road safety message in the community. Matthew’s family agreed without hesitation and the ‘think car’ was created.
The ‘think car’ has the ability to silence crowds and is without a doubt the single most effective road safety tool available to the force.
Nick was highly commended by judges for his instrumental role in pioneering and professionalising the service that Cheshire Constabulary provides to the families of those who have lost a loved one on Cheshire’s roads.
He has spent a huge amount of his own personal time developing and presenting case studies that he has personally dealt with to student family liaison officers as part of their initial qualification course - as well as making grieving families feel as though they are the centre of his world and providing the highest quality of service to them at the saddest of times.
PC Tony Hayhurst said: “I have worked on more than 100 cases as a family liaison officer and have supported many families through very traumatic, life changing events.
“Those families have not only suffered terrible loss but have each found themselves at the centre of a police investigation and some, a court case. I am immensely respectful of the work that all our family liaison officers undertake in Cheshire Police, they form a resilient and professional team who really do make a difference to those families when they need us most.
“I am very proud to have won this award but I would far rather bring an award to Cheshire for zero road deaths and serious injuries on our roads - something we really do want to achieve”.
PC Nick Anderton said: “As an FLO I have met some very courageous and amazing people through the most tragic of circumstance. It has been an honour to help and guide them through both the criminal and / or coronial process.
"I thank the families for their understanding of what we have do in the initial stages of an investigation when realistically they probably want to just curl up into a ball and hide, hoping their nightmare will go away.
"While I am extremely proud to receive this award I only wish that the families had their loved ones with them instead."
Superintendent Jo Marshall Bell, who heads up Cheshire’s Roads and Crime Unit said: “I am immensely proud of both Tony and Nick for the much deserved national recognition they have received for the commitment they give to the role of FLO.
“This category had applications from all over the UK and the fact that Cheshire had two winners just shows the fantastic work that goes on each day in this county.
“Tony and Nick have gone above and beyond for the families they have supported, at what is a truly heartbreaking and difficult time. They have both shown undeniable dedication and are an absolute credit to the Constabulary.”