SOME of the region’s top cops have been honoured at an inaugural awards ceremony.

Durham Police handed out its first Wow! Awards to officers and staff nominated by members of the public today (Friday, September 27) in a ceremony at The Durham Centre, in Belmont, Durham City.

Chief Constable Mike Barton said: “Nobody rings the police to say they’re having a great day.

“They ring us in the most extreme circumstances – sometimes on the worst day of their lives.

“For our officers and staff to turn that round is wonderful, inspirational and humbling. I think it’s a great thing to put their names in lights.”

Among those honoured was PCSO Lee Blaney, who worked with pupils at Toft Hill Primary School, near Bishop Auckland, to create scarecrow police in the hope of slowing drivers on the A68 through the village and also targeted an organised criminal gang in West Auckland.

He won the Best Newcomer prize.

The ‘What a Team’ award went to the squad dealing with issues linked to West Park mental hospital, in Darlington.

PC Julian Brown said: “It’s lovely to come here today and receive an award but it’s an ongoing thing. We need to keep on improving relationships.”

PCSO Trevor Patterson picked up the Best Customer Service gong for helping a woman home following a fall in Stanhope, Weardale.

The Inspiring Confidence in the Community prize went to PCSO Louise Armstrong , who responded to anti-social behaviour in Ferryhill by helping set up a film club.

Detective Sergeant Hannah Bell claimed the Most Inspirational Leader and overall Internal Customer Service awards for a new leadership development programme she has designed and implemented.

Finally, Jacqueline Coates won the That’s Really Special and overall Internal Customer Service awards for her work at The Meadows sexual assault referral centre.

She said: “From my point of view I was just doing my job.”

Nominations were made by members of the public, before judges picked the winners.

Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg also attended the ceremony.