/ Police Officer recognised with RSPCA award

A GMP police officer who played a key role in solving a complex animal abuse case has been recognised by the RSPCA.

PC Jason O’Connell has received a Chief Inspectorate Officer’s Commendation award following his work on a case in Walkden.

The officer first stepped in to help the RSPCA by removing a group of abused animals, which included three dogs, three kittens, a rabbit and a snake, from the care of two men and a woman.

Just days later, the defendants obtained a new puppy and two rabbits and PC O’Connell was quick to recover the animals and secure their safety.

PC O’Connell then assisted again after one of the dogs, called Narla, was stolen from the RSPCA’s Warrington Animal Centre where she was being cared for.

Based on public information that one of the defendants had been seen with a dog, PC O’Connell and RSPCA Officer Vicki McDonald visited the offender’s house and arrested a male and female before dedicating a night shift to find and arrest the third offender and track down Narla.

Vicki nominated PC O’Connell, from GMP’s Salford district, in recognition of his invaluable contribution and the tenacity he showed throughout a diverse and difficult case.

She said: “As a result of this investigation - the ongoing welfare of four dogs, three rabbits, three cats and a snake have been secured.

“PC O’Connell willingly assisted from day one and without his often immediate help and professionalism -this outcome may not have been possible.

“We were devastated when we discovered Narla had been stolen after securing her safety initially but PC O’Connell’s tenacity ensured her safe return to our care again.”

All three defendants were found guilty of the animal offences and were sentenced for their actions in May at Manchester Magistrates’ Court.

Vicki presented the certificate to PC O’Connell at Eccles Police Station and she was full of praise for his work.

She added: “This was not solely an RSPCA investigation and was very much a joint effort with the police which took up a significant amount of their time and effort.

“PC O’Connell’s invaluable contribution led to this successful outcome which is why I nominated him for this award.”

The RSPCA (Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), is the largest animal welfare charity in the UK and specialises in animal rescue and the welfare of animals.

PC O’Connell said: “I feel honoured to have received this certificate and pleased to be able to support the RSPCA with this difficult abuse case and ensure it had a happy ending.

“I’m delighted that Narla and the other animals have been returned to the safe care of the RSPCA.”

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