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'I'm very proud of the work we do' - police officer gets national award for helping families in wake of tragedies

PC Pete Linsley has been given a national award
PC Pete Linsley has been given a national award

A long-serving police officer who has helped more than 150 families with trauma and grief has been handed a national award for his work.

PC Pete Linsley works as a Family Liaison Officer (FLO) and often has the difficult job of breaking devastating news to loved ones after fatal car crashes.

PC Linsley at the ceremony in London.

PC Linsley at the ceremony in London.

Previously an officer with Cleveland Police, PC Linsley has now worked for Northumbria for 24 years.

He knocks on every door knowing the information he has to pass on will tear a family's word apart.

The most important part of his job, he said, is then to help "build it back together".

The 49-year-old has been handed a commendation at the Brake Family Liaison Officer awards in London in recognition of his outstanding service.

Speaking about his job, PC Linsley continued: "I'm very proud of the work we do. I think a FLO is an absolutely crucial part of any investigation.

“It’s an emotional job. I remember working with a family on one job for the best part of two-and-a-half years. On my final day, the dad broke down in tears thanking us for what we’d done.

“That’s the life of a FLO. You know when you stand at a front door that you’re going to go into somebody’s house and potentially tear their world apart.

"Then it’s my job to build it back together."

During his decades of work, PC Linsley has also worked on murders, stabbings and suicides as well as dealing with more than 150 crashes.

But this means there are 150 people who have died, and 150 families who needed PC Linsley's support.

It was one family who nominated the policeman for the Family Award at the ceremony. They travelled with him to the event in London, but wished to remain anonymous in the media.

They said PC Linsley went "above and beyond" in the aftermath of a devastating incident.

The family continued: "Pete was assigned to our family when two members were killed instantly in a road crash, completely devastating us all.

“The genuine kindness, support, care and guidance he gave us was second to none, and we feel Pete went above and beyond the role of a FLO to help us in any way he could.

“In our eyes, there was nothing better he could have done and we think he absolutely deserves this highly-commended award as recognition for being an outstanding family liaison officer.

“Words seem inadequate to describe how thankful we are as a family to Pete.”

PC Linsley will retire from the force in March 2019.

He had this final message about his award: “I couldn’t believe I’d been nominated for an award. I was almost moved to tears.

“It was a special day and it was great to have my colleagues there to share the occasion.”