Pub manager John Opolli was one of 145 members of the community, officers and police staff presented with a special award from West Midlands Police and the Police Authority, for their outstanding contribution during the summer disturbances across parts of the West Midlands.
The recipients, including John, the pub manager at The Briar Rose, in Birmingham, were presented with their awards at a special ceremony held to mark the event, in Birmingham University’s Great Hall.
Receiving awards were officers, police staff and partners who worked closely with the police, as well as businesses which gave huge support to the force and members of the community who went ‘above and beyond’.
John, pictured with bar associates Melissa Hatt (left) and Aimee Baxter, said: “During the summer riots in the city, The Briar Rose became a safe haven for families, being one of very few pubs in the city centre to remain open during the disturbances.
“Roads were blocked and people were stranded and scared. We let around 50 to 60 people in the pub and monitored the door for safety.
“We also accommodated city staff in the hotel overnight, from other pubs, as well as our own, as many were unable to get home.
“The troubles were very unexpected, so the staffing was a normal rota, but we managed to help those who needed shelter, keep staff and customers safe and continue trading throughout.”
The awards were presented by Chief Constable Chris Sims and the chair of the Police Authority, Bishop Derek Webley. Recipients were presented with a certificate and gift.
Chief Constable Chris Sims said: “Many of those receiving awards played a huge and important part in the successful outcome during those turbulent few days – and many displayed exceptional courage and bravery.
“We felt it only right and proper to record our thanks – and the thanks of many members of the community – in such a way.”