Police Constable Chris Smith has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Police Medal by Her Majesty The Queen as part of her New Year’s Honours due to his passion and endless energy for road safety.
PC Smith joined Dorset Police in 1999 after transferring from the Metropolitan Police where he had worked for 10 years. He soon joined the Traffic Unit and during his time as a traffic patrol officer developed his professional skills in a wide range of areas.
He is now a police driving and motorcycle instructor, ensuring police drivers are able to carry out their duties safely on the roads. He acted as a family liaison officer (FLO) for 13 years, being one of the first FLOs trained, and has supported innumerable families at the most distressing and traumatic time of their lives. Despite their grief and distress these families have gone on to write emotional and heartfelt letters to express their thanks for his support and professional demeanour. He also ensured other FLOs received the support they need in this most demanding role by acting as a family liaison coordinator.
One of Chris’ biggest passions is motorcycle safety and Dorset BikeSafe which as lead he coordinates and delivers lessons while mentoring other riders. His innovation has seen a 20 per cent increase in attendance on BikeSafe courses. He has been a regular face at the Dream Machines Bike Night on Poole Quay for the past 15 years whether he is scheduled to work or not, attending the event with the BikeSafe display unit that he obtained funding for and sourced. Chris is aware of the natural and social barriers between some motorcyclists and the police. He uses these events to positively break through those barriers, improving communication with the police and educating the riders who are a very high risk road user group. This work has seen a 90 per cent fall in serious injuries linked to the event.
A particular example of this is the introduction of the ‘Doc Bike’ ridden by an air ambulance doctor and consultant anaesthetist. Chris sourced an ex-police motorcycle and charity funding. He then arranged for the motorcycle to be marked in yellow and green Battenberg. The doctor uses the bike to attend events and encourage riders, who would not necessarily respond to a police officer, to think about road safety, while also attending incidents with life-saving equipment funded by the charity.
Chris also presented at the Safe Drive Stay Alive events. Coordinated by Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, these events use a hard hitting format to improve the road safety of young people about to start driving. In addition, he has worked to improve the safety of young and mature drivers, both high risk groups, bringing “The Honest Truth” to Dorset which aims to educate new drivers taking lessons with local driving instructors.
Off duty, Chris is an Institute of Advanced Motorists Examiner and Mentor and sits on the National Strategy Group, helping the community to be safer on the roads. He also runs BikerDown events in Dorset alongside the DocBike rider which teach life-saving skills to riders in the event of a collision.
Dorset Police Chief Constable, Debbie Simpson, said: “Chris embodies all that is good in the police force. His devotion to others stands as an example to us all. Through his actions, countless others have lived and we all owe him a massive debt of gratitude. There isn’t a more worthy person for such an award than PC Chris Smith.”
Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, Brandon Lewis, said: “The Queen’s Police Medal recognises officers like Police Constable Christopher Smith, who have made a vital contribution to policing through distinguished service, and I congratulate him on receiving this award. This year, I am particularly pleased that more than half of those receiving awards will be from junior ranks, and will be rewarded for their tireless work tackling crime and keeping our communities safe.”
PC Chris Smith said: “I am deeply humbled to be nominated for an award, let alone to be honoured by Her Majesty The Queen in this way. None of the work we have done over the last 15 years in making our roads safer would have been possible without the support of Dorset Police and the great team of traffic officers and partners I have had the privilege to work alongside. This is as much their honour as it is mine.”