Police officers who dropped everything to help those whose lives were devastated by Hurricane Irma were honoured at a special ceremony.
Five officers from Hampshire, along with five from Thames Valley Police, were deployed to the British Virgin Islands for three weeks when disaster struck in September.
With no running water or mains electricity, no roof on their accommodation and dangerous criminals on the run after the prison was severely damaged, the team showed ‘great determination and bravery’.
Hampshire’s Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney said: “These officers have dealt with some of the most challenging situations that any officer can face and they have shown nothing but great professionalism and compassion.
“I am so proud of them all and residents living in Hampshire and the Thames Valley should take great comfort in knowing that such dedicated officers are working hard every day to make our communities safer.”
During their deployment the team of 10 helped to secure the prisoners, assisted the military with establishing water and electricity supplies and cleared dangerous debris from neighbourhoods.
The team worked at least 16 hours a day most days, all under 40 degree heat while wearing their uniforms designed for British weather.
Food was also in short supply and the team relied on basic rations to get them through.
The group even refused to leave when a second category five hurricane hit the island, insisting that they wanted to be there for those who needed them most.
Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Francis Habgood added: “These officers provided security, support and compassion in really difficult circumstances.
“I know that the islanders were incredibly grateful for their presence and the officers were pleased to have been there to help them. I am very proud of them.”
The officers honoured from Hampshire were Insp Alex Reading, PC Stuart Woods, PC Terry Cooke, PC David Tester and PC Martin Daniels.