Alissa Hayward was saluted for bravery at a police awards ceremony on Monday. *Photo by Amanda Dale
Alissa Hayward was saluted for bravery at a police awards ceremony on Monday. *Photo by Amanda Dale
A witness whose personal stand for justice helped convict 11 men has been recognised at a police awards ceremony.

Police officers were saluted for their bravery at the event this week, but the biggest applause went to the mother-of-one, Alissa Hayward.

Ms Hayward, 25, received a Letter of Appreciation for giving evidence which resulted in the convictions over the 2009 Cup Match brawl.

She was working in the bar of St. George’s Cricket Club when the mass fight broke out at the Wellington Oval.

The fracas began in the bar when two groups of men started throwing glass bottles at each other but soon spilled out into the grounds.

More than 2,000 people witnessed the fight on July 31, 2009, but only a few were prepared to come forward.

Ms Hayward, a member of the Bermuda Regiment, gave police statements and helped to identify the 11 men.

She told the Bermuda Sun: “The cricket club is my home and so I felt I had to act. There were no other choices.”

Asked whether she felt intimidated to act on an island renowned for reluctant witnesses, Ms Hayward replied: “Not really. I feel that everyone cries for change but who is going to make that first step?

“I can only encourage more people to do it. The only way to solve crimes is to come forward.

“The police are doing their job but we as members of the public aren’t doing ours by staying quiet.”

Commenting on her award, she said: “I didn’t expect any recognition for this but it certainly makes it better.

“It’s the small things we do that make the biggest difference.”

Another member of the public to receive an award was Kyle Smith, a jet skier who towed a burning boat out to sea after it caught fire in St. George’s on June 2.

Mr. Smith, who was not present yesterday, averted disaster after spotting smoke billowing from the vessel as it refueled at Dowling’s Shell Marine Station. He pulled the craft out into the harbour, averting a potential explosion.

The Bermuda Police Service annual awards ceremony on Monday marked the start of Police Week.

Dedication to duty

Both frontline officers and support staff were commended for their dedication to duty over the past 12 months.

Certificates of recognition were given to uniformed and civilian staff for their role in drugs busts, the apprehension of burglars and arrests of firearms suspects.

The Department of Public Prosecutions, firefighters, members of the Corporation of St. George’s and chief immigration officer Rozy Azhar were also commended.

Police Commissioner Michael DeSilva told us: “Since I was appointed last December it feels like we’ve had ten months of operating at full tilt.

“We’re extremely busy with investigations and when you’re operating at that intensity there’s a danger of overlooking the work that’s being done, without recognition.”

Mr. DeSilva said civilian support staff were as much a part of the police ‘family’ as officers on the streets.

“What we’re trying to include in our awards is the steady dedication that goes on behind the scenes, that pulls the organization together,” he said.

He added he hoped recipients would “take away a sense of value” to their roles, through the awards.

During the ceremony Governor Sir Richard Gozney praised the “enormous high calibre of the skills of the Bermuda Police Service”.

“Bermuda as a community and as an island is very grateful,” he said.