A DETECTIVE Sergeant received a commendation from the Chief Constable in recognition of his work as a negotiator, spanning the final 10 years of his service.

Peter Goulston retired last year, having qualified as a hostage and crisis negotiator in 2011 - a voluntary role he undertook alongside his day job.

Negotiators can be called out any time of the day or night and are instantly involved in a high-pressure and rapidly evolving situation where, often, a person's life is at risk.

Peter was often called to help people who were in a mental health crisis and threatening to take their own life, as well as scenarios such as kidnappings and extortion cases.

In the last 10 years, Peter had been deployed as a negotiator more than 300 times and also used his experience to select, assess and coach Cumbria Police negotiators selected to attend national courses.

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When asked what makes a good negotiator, Peter said: "Generally, an ability to listen to people and to disengage from the standard police mindset. You must have a very personable skillset and have an appreciation for how people present themselves. An ability to actively listen to the person you are negotiating with, in a wide variety of situations and circumstances.

"But also, the ability to work as part of a team. It is very much a team effort. One person negotiating but with the support of two or three other negotiators, progressing at the same time," he said. 

Peter said he was "delighted" and "very humbled" to be nominated for the award by Inspector Graham Hawley.

Insp Hawley said: "The Constabulary was very fortunate to have Peter. It is no exaggeration to state that his interventions resulted in countless lives being saved and people who were at their lowest ebb getting the help and support they needed.

"The negotiator role is a demanding one which undoubtedly takes a toll. However, Peter's integrity and professionalism has never faltered.

"His commitment and level of service both in his role as a negotiator and beyond it, is something all officers should aspire to."

Peter said the role could be extremely rewarding when dealing with such intense situations. 

"The satisfaction comes from when you are with someone who is in a really difficult place and you are able to encourage them to problem solve to a stage where they decide not to take their own life.

"It is an extremely rewarding thing," he said. 

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