York Minster Cathedral Constables receive commendations for bravery

Commendations for brave conduct were awarded to two of York Minster’s Cathedral Constables in a special ceremony in the Minster’s 13th century Chapter House on Wednesday 14 November.

The commendations were presented at the Attestation Ceremony for three new members of the Minster’s Police team. Lewis Appleby, Elizabeth Hill and Verity Winterburn swore an oath on the 1,000 year old York Gospels before receiving their formal accreditation and certificate. The ceremony was performed by Duncan Webster OBE JP, Chairman of the North Yorkshire Bench. The Minster’s Cathedral Constables hold the same powers as regular police constables within the Minster’s precinct.

The commendations were awarded to Cathedral Constable Beverley Martin and Cathedral Constable Adam Rickers by the Cathedral Constables’ Association. They will be presented by Canon Peter Moger, Acting Dean of York.

Beverley Martin was attested as a Cathedral Constable in 2017 having worked as a member of the Minster’s Police team for more than 12 years. Bev was recognised for brave conduct in pursuing, restraining and detaining a male suspect for violent behaviour outside York Minster on 15 June 2018. The suspect had violently assaulted two people – one of them a man in his eighties. Bev gave chase, catching up with the suspect as he confronted a group of people waiting for a taxi. She placed the suspect in handcuffs and despite his verbal abuse and violent struggling, Bev detained him for more than 20 minutes until North Yorkshire Police arrived to take him into custody.

Commenting on the incident and her commendation for brave conduct, Bev said:

“It was a dangerous situation and there was real potential for things to escalate and for more people to be hurt. But in the heat of the moment there is no time to think – the training just takes over and you focus all your efforts on bringing the situation under control and preventing further harm and risk to members of the public.”

Adam Rickers was attested as a Cathedral Constable in 2017, having been a member of the Minster’s Police team for 8 years. On 12 September 2018, he responded to reports of a man on the scaffolding overlooking Dean’s Park. Adam climbed the scaffolding, checking each level until he spotted the male sitting on the edge of the Minster’s roof more than 250 metres above ground. Adam walked 15 metres along the roof edge and then climbed a 10 metre pinnacle to get close enough to start a conversation. He kept the man calm and engaged in conversation for almost 30 minutes until a team from North Yorkshire Police, including a trained negotiator, climbed up to join Adam. After another hour of careful persuasion, the man agreed to come down from the roof. The officers assisted him down the scaffolding and he was immediately taken to hospital for assessment.

Recalling the incident, Adam said:

“Even though we take every precaution to stop people climbing onto the scaffolding, people in crisis are often the most determined in finding a way through and putting themselves in harm’s way. It was a horrible situation, at great height on a dark, windy and wet night. But there was someone in acute distress and it was my duty as a police officer and a responsible person to go to his aid.”

Mark Sutcliffe, Inspector of Cathedral Police at York Minster, commended the courage and selflessness of Constables Martin and Rickers. He said:

“These were challenging and dangerous circumstances requiring sensitivity and tremendous bravery. Both constables put themselves at enormous personal risk to protect the public and preserve life. They are a credit to York Minster and to the wider community.”