The innovation and success of Police Scotland’s workforce including officers, staff members, special constables and probationers have been celebrated at an awards ceremony to highlight their outstanding work.
The third annual Scottish Policing Excellence Awards 2018 took place today (Tuesday 30 January 2018) at the Scottish Police College. The event was sponsored by Police Mutual and supported by the Scottish Police Authority and the Scottish Government.
Police Scotland's Excellence Awards recognise excellence and innovation in local policing and specialist divisions across the country. Police Scotland is celebrating the achievements of its staff who are demonstrating their commitment to keeping people safe in their local communities through innovative policing. These initiatives are supporting the delivery of Police Scotland’s national priorities and the priorities identified by local communities, including working with partners to tackle crime and support crime prevention.
The awards were open to all police officers and members of staff of any rank or grade. Nominees were proposed by colleagues and peers as a reflection of their hard work, commitment and effort in promoting the values and aims of Police Scotland. Each category was shortlisted by a judging panel consisting of members from Police Scotland’s Force Executive. Finalists attended today’s ceremony where they were welcomed by the Scottish Police and Community Choir, members of the Force Executive and one of Police Scotland’s pipers.
Awards were presented by DCC Rose Fitzpatrick, Scottish Police Authority Chair Professor Susan Deacon, Police Mutual Chief Executive Stephen Mann and Relationship Manager Corinne Porter.
Greatest Contribution of Policing Priorities Award went to Operation Synapsis. This is an international multi-force human trafficking investigation. It involved Police Scotland working co-operatively with a number of other forces throughout the UK, including the Metropolitan, West Midlands and South Yorkshire Police forces, as well as the Slovakian Police and Europol, to target an international Organised Crime Group who were responsible for trafficking vulnerable females from Slovakia to the UK for the purpose of sham marriages and prostitution. The operation resulted in 13 victims being recovered, who are currently receiving ongoing support, and 10 members of the gang being arrested in Scotland and Slovakia, who are all currently awaiting trial.
Equality Award this year was presented to two teams. The Police Scotland Youth Volunteers (PSYV) team and the Positive Action Team. PSYV gives young people of all backgrounds and circumstances a positive means of engagement with police, communities and positive role models.
Through regular training and participation in community safety initiatives and public events, youth volunteers overcome barriers they once faced. They are given opportunities to discover their talents, develop skills for life and appreciate the diversity and the benefits of making positive contribution to their communities.
The public also now have access to a new form of practical community safety support that assists them to exercise their rights and freedoms, with young people at the heart of making communities safer.
Police Scotland’s Positive Action Team has delivered positive action in recruiting for not only under-represented groups in the police service in general, but also focussed and assisted in breaking down barriers for females from within minority communities.
At the 8 September 2017 final parade at the Scottish Police College, out of 213 new recruits, 10% were from a variety of minority backgrounds. This project has increased engagement with communities who are ‘seldom heard’ and has increased trust and confidence that they are all part of Scottish society.
Police Scotland recognises the need to have a workforce that is reflective of all communities and so in September 2015, the Positive Action Team (PAT) project was initiated to look at increasing the number of ethnic minorities Police Officers. This provided the team a further opportunity to also attract female applicants from such communities.
Probationary Constable of the Year was awarded to PC Emma Morris, who has worked at Craigmillar Response in Edinburgh since April 2016 and completed her Probation in December 2017.
She has excelled and has become a very influential member of her team. She works regularly with less experienced officers and provides guidance and support in a confident and composed manner. Emma has led successful investigations across a range of crime types, many complex in nature. This officer has a 'can-do' attitude, an abundance of enthusiasm and commitment along with skills and knowledge beyond her service that makes her a joy to have on the team.
Policing Partner of the Year went to Highland Third Sector Interface. Over the past 12 months the Highland Third Sector Interface (HTSI) has worked directly with Police Scotland to ensure that the views and needs of Highland Communities are embedded into local planning arrangements. As a result, the Highland Outcome Improvement Plan (HOIP) and the Local Policing Plan are directly linked and reflective of community expectations.
In addition, the HTSI are the only interface in Scotland to be leading the Community Justice Plan on behalf of the Community Planning Partnership, their enthusiasm and drive for the work is bringing huge benefit to our communities.
Highland Third Sector Interface (HTSI) provide a gateway for support and advice for the Third Sector within the Highland area. Their primary focus on people and communities strives to increase opportunities for the Third Sector to participate in the design and delivery of Community Outcomes. In Highland there are over 3000 member of the Interface, the membership primarily from small local community groups operating with a small annual income and a large number of volunteers.
Over the past four years, in Highland, Police Scotland and the HTSI have built a strong relationship, working jointly on a host of partnership projects and carrying out joint consultation with the sector on a number of issues.
Team of the Year was awarded to The Barra Community Team for their work in helping support the community on the Isle of Barra during the devastating events of the terrorist bombing at the Manchester Arena in May 2017.
It placed the Isle of Barra at the centre of national and international news. The island community required enhanced community support and reassurance. Officers were assembled from across the Western Isles, supported by the Divisional Flexible Policing Team, and working with partners and the local community, they quickly became ‘The Barra Community Team’. There is no guidance on how to police in such circumstances, but their work received high praise from the residents of Barra and elsewhere in the UK.
Police Staff Member of the Year was presented to Kenny Milne, Corporate Services, Livingston. Kenny has been a Criminal Intelligence Analyst for 11 years based at Livingston. Prior that that, he was a Police Officer for 30 years. Kenny piloted the new style Tactical Assessment and was crucial in driving the new Divisional Tasking & Delivery process. He has an amazing positive “can do” attitude which can rub off on other people. Kenny seeks solutions to problems and ways to deliver despite tight deadlines. He is an excellent role model for other analysts.
Special Constable of the Year was named as Jake White from C3, based at Bilston Glen, Edinburgh. Jake works as a communications controller within Bilston East ACR, but is also a Special Constable in his spare time. Working in a control room has given SPC White a first-hand insight into the challenges faced by his operational colleagues. To assist them he regularly gives up his days off and uses his annual leave to undertake his Special Constable duties. He acts as a conduit between both roles and is able to provide each a better understanding of the challenges each face. Always positive in his approach he has helped galvanise two differing and often competing roles.
Jake has been a Special Constable for four years. During this time he has volunteered and assisted in a variety of departments including the Roads Policing Unit, Licensing and Public Protection Unit. He regularly completes tours of duty with both Response and Community officers at various stations across E Division. As well as working his rest days he also uses his annual leave to complete further tours of duty.
Jake manages to flit between his SPC and his controller’s hats with ease and is a shining example to both police officers and police staff alike for his personal management, enthusiasm and professionalism.
Unsung Hero was presented to the family of Detective Constable Waheed Sardar who sadly passed away last year.
Detective Constable Waheed Sardar was an exemplary officer who was highly respected by his colleagues and Specialist Crime Division management. His commitment over the past year has been recognised within the Counter Terrorism network nationally. In June 2017 he was selected from a national cadre to work at the UEFA Champions League Final in Cardiff. Later that evening he volunteered and was urgently dispatched to London to respond to the London Bridge terrorist attack. Subsequently, Police Scotland received formal comment praising the hard work, dedication, selflessness and professionalism of Detective Constable Sardar, concluding that he was a credit to the Police Service.
Deputy Chief Constable’s Award was presented to The Barra Community Team. Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick who hosted the awards said, “Today is all about celebrating the tremendous dedication, commitment and professionalism of our officers and staff.
“The tireless efforts of our colleagues and partners - recognised by their peers and managers through their nominations – all contribute to our aim of keeping Scotland’s communities and people safe. The achievements of all those nominated are an inspiration to the whole country.”
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said, “The individuals and teams within our police service go the extra mile every day and it is their devotion to public service, coupled with a willingness to innovate, that brings true excellence to policing in Scotland.
“I am always inspired by the work of police officers and staff members and I would like to thank all of this year’s winners and nominees for their contribution to our communities.”
Police Mutual’s Chief Executive, Stephen Mann, said: “Police Mutual is proud to sponsor the Scottish Policing Excellence Awards once again. All the nominees and winners should be immensely proud of their achievements – they have shown themselves to be dedicated to keeping the public safe through outstanding work and extraordinary levels of professional commitment, in line with Police Scotland’s values. They are not only a credit to their families, friends and communities, but also to Police Scotland and the wider Police Service.”
Chair of the Scottish Police Authority Professor Susan Deacon said: “Policing is one of our most important public services, and we have a police service in Scotland of which we can be rightly proud. In the short time I have been in post, it has been a real privilege to see the care, passion, pride and commitment that police officers and staff take in their jobs. I look forward to celebrating their successes and achievements, and to working to ensure that this creativity and energy is nurtured and spread to deliver valuable service improvements for the public."