Police dispatcher who helped apprehend Louth double murderer receives national award

A Lincolnshire Police dispatcher who helped apprehend a Louth double murderer has received a national award for her efforts.

Karen Hay-Barr receiving her award. Image by Jolly Media.
Karen Hay-Barr receiving her award. Image by Jolly Media.

Three members of Lincolnshire Police’s Force Control Room were recognised at a prestigious awards at a national ceremony held last night at the NEC in Birmingham on Wednesday 21 September.

The awards were presented at the National Control Room Awards, held on the first night of the Emergency Services Show, at the NEC in Birmingham.

Over 170 nominations were received from more than 40 organisations, including police forces, ambulance services, fire services, HM Coastguard and private care providers.

One of the winners was Dispatcher Karen Hay-Barr, who was awarded Control Room Dispatcher of the Year after her heroic efforts during a heart-breaking double murder incident in Louth in May 2021.

Karen’s nomination came after a male suspect had stabbed a young female and her nine-year-old son in their home and fled the scene.

He was later spotted by an off-duty police officer who was walking his dog at a local beauty spot. Upon approaching the suspect, the officer was stabbed in the leg.

Karen immediately volunteered herself to be the dispatcher as armed officers were deployed to the area.

This wasn’t an area of the county that Karen was familiar with, however she acted with great professionalism and calmness using all of the systems available to her.

Karen identified numerous threats and dangers as the incident unfolded and responded in a calm and decisive manner.

Thanks to Karen’s excellent all-round control of the incident, it was successfully concluded with the positive outcome of a capture and arrest with no further injuries sustained by anyone. The suspect was jailed for more than 40 years for the double murder.

Karen’s nomination also highlighted other occasions of exceptional performance, including when she persuaded a man threatening to hang himself to divulge his location so officers could reach him and enable him to seek help.

Michael Modder-Fitch, Force Control Room, Lincolnshire Police, said: “There are many examples of Karen’s exceptional controlling skills, her actions in the search for the wanted man and the time when she spoke to a suicidal man are just two of them.

"She is a professional, calm, enthusiastic and dedicated controller. Karen is respected by her colleagues who love working with her, she’s a really valuable member of the team and we are thrilled that she has been recognised for her hard work.

Chief Constable Chris Haward, said: “To learn about each of these examples, where colleagues have rightfully been recognised with these awards, is humbling, to say the least. So often we think of policing as being all about blue lights and fast cars but it’s also about these dedicated, passionate, and professional people working quietly in the background, day and night, and giving it their all to make Lincolnshire the safest place to live, work and visit. Without our colleagues in the control room our staff out in our communities would be working solo and that would bring about unique risk and possible harm, both to them and members of the public.

“I am thrilled members of Lincolnshire Police in the control room have been recognised for their amazing efforts and pass on both my personal thanks to them and those on behalf of the force for helping to keep people in Lincolnshire safe."