Police officers, staff and volunteers were celebrated at an awards ceremony last Friday (27 January) when West Mercia Police held the first Quality Policing Awards.
The ceremony, held at West Midlands Safari Park, recognised those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to protect people from harm and keep communities across the counties covered by the force – Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire – safe.
We also introduced our ‘Community Thank You’ award – which gave us the chance to say thank you to members of the public that have worked with us on initiatives, giving their precious time, skills and commitment to help us make positive changes for our communities.
More than 33 nominees from across 11 categories attended, all of whom had been nominated by either members of the community or their colleagues for putting their own lives at risk or simply going the extra mile to make a difference. You can find the full list of awards categories and winners below.
The event was attended by Chief Constable Pippa Mills, Deputy Chief Constable Alex Murray, PCC John Campion, and the Deputy Lord Lieutenants for Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
Chief Constable Pippa Mills said: “I’m incredibly proud of the outstanding work my officers, staff and volunteers do to protect people from harm and make our communities safer.
“When I arrived as Chief Constable in West Mercia Police, right at the top of my list was to amplify and recognise these extraordinary efforts and the excellent service that is delivered daily to our communities.
“It was an honour and a privilege to hear the brilliant examples of the positive impact the nominees have had; their achievements represent the very best traditions of policing – putting the public first, being courageous, showing compassion, taking ownership and being inclusive.”
The event was fully funded through sponsorship and we would like to thank: Axon, BidvestNoonan, CDW, Intaforensics, NextBase, Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion, SCC, Red Snapper Group, TTC, Virgin Media O2 Business, XPS Host.
West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, John Campion, who sponsored the Victims’ champion award, said: “As Commissioner, I am very proud to be part of the Quality Policing Awards in West Mercia, that recognises some of the amazing work to keep our community safe and support victims of crime.
“I had the honour to present DC Julia Proctor with the Victim’s Champion Award. The commitment and compassion they showed to help the victim is commendable. Putting victims and survivors first is at the heart of my Safer West Mercia Plan and the winners of these awards demonstrate these values and should be recognised for their actions. I will continue to support West Mercia Police by giving them the resources to keep the communities of West Mercia safe.”
The award categories and winners are:
Police Staff Member of the Year
Rachael Neale – Senior People and OD Manager
Under Rachael’s leadership her teams have worked cohesively and diligently to ensure success for the Uplift Programme whilst leading other significant projects – all of which ensure we have the right people, with the right skills to meet policing demands. She is a great advocate for inclusion, ensuring the work of the department reflects all the voices in the workforce. Rachael is a compassionate, courageous, and inclusive leader. She is simply outstanding.
Police Officer of the Year
DC Joanne Kerr – Shropshire PVP
Jo is known for wanting to do the very best for victims and survivors of child and domestic abuse through successful investigations and in helping them feel safe again. There are numerous examples, but one saw her embark on a four-year journey to get justice for a family. Not only did she secure a conviction for the offender but, she also helped the family with a successful application to the Police Community Support Fund, which helped them to build a new home. Thanks to Jo there are many people now facing a positive, safe future, they hadn’t previously felt possible.
Investigator of the year
DC Kim Carpenter – MIU South Hereford
Kim is known for her professionalism, tenacity, attention to detail and compassion. These skills have been invaluable in numerous cases and particularly to Operation Former, which saw her travel to Kenya to interview vulnerable children, in challenging conditions, regarding sexual abuse by a British National. The investigation was ground-breaking and saw the offender sentenced to 17 years. Kim has recently retired but her compassion and commitment to victims continues through the guidance and support she gave those younger in service, that now follow in her footsteps.
PCSO of the year
PCSO Andy Stevens – Kidderminster SNT
Andy lives and breathes local policing. His knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, his community has seen him deliver several successful operations and initiatives in Kidderminster. To highlight a few, he has; introduced the ShopCop scheme, tackled anti-social motorcycle use on Hartlebury Common, identified and addressed ASB issues in and around St Georges Park and, most recently, led on a project with partners to support local families in the current cost of living crisis. Andy is truly inspirational and his commitment to his communities and the positive changes he has made for them should be celebrated.
DS Edward Jones – Reactive CID, Worcs
Ed has nurtured and supported his team whilst ensuring they always deliver a quality service to the public. He has overseen successful charges and remands as well as investigations where early guilty pleas are entered, which is a testament to his leadership and determination to achieve positive results for victims and communities affected by crime. He’s described as having set the bar for ownership of investigations and ensures his team delivers a great service to the public, to keep them safe and to seek justice. He is dedicated to helping others develop and his team describes him as “gold dust”.
Prevention and Problem Solving
Sgt Ingrid Tozer and PC Chris Rayment – SNT/ Dedicated Football Officer
Ingrid and Chris initiated the Stay on Side programme in 2022 following concerns about an increase in violence amongst young people at football matches linked to the Shrewsbury Town Football Club. Sgt Tozer led the project and PC Rayment is now the dedicated Football Officer, providing a link between West Mercia Police, the club and supporters’ groups, and other partners to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable match-day experience. The initiative has been a huge success, stopping an escalation in offending and reducing the policing support needed at matches.
Louise Gibson – Traffic Processing Unit
Louise was walking home from work over Malvern Link Common when she noticed a woman in distress walking her dog towards train tracks. Louise called to her, and she responded that she did not want to be here anymore. Louise approached the woman to talk to her and safely guided her away from the tracks. Still to this day, Louise goes about her normal working days believing what happened was something ‘little’, but it was not, and Louise deserves to be recognised and praised for the bravery and compassion she showed.
Community thank you
Chris, Yvonne and Stewart Flood
During a Birmingham carjacking three years ago, Chris was stabbed four times. He was left with life-changing injuries. Since then, Chris and his parents, Yvonne and Stewart, have been determined to prevent anyone else from becoming a victim of knife crime and to that end have shared Chris’ experience with others. They have spent hours supporting West Mercia Police and the ‘Steer Clear’ workshops and visiting schools. They help deliver monthly workshops in Telford and Shropshire and played a significant role in the violence prevention ‘Bee Tour’. Their passion to prevent violence happening to others is truly remarkable.
Volunteer of the year
Michael Barbour – ECU volunteer
In his role as a volunteer within the Economic Crime Unit, Mike has made a positive impact for victims and potential victims of fraud. He developed a network of thousands of contacts spanning many organisations, to which he sends a “fraud bulletin” with tips on spotting scammers. He also submits a weekly post to Neighbourhood Matters detailing the latest fraud advice, which reaches a wide community audience and is helping prevent offences – which often target the most vulnerable – from happening in the first place.
Victim’s Champion Award
DC Julia Proctor – Child Exploitation Team
Julia’s ability to gain the trust of victims in the most difficult of circumstances has led to dangerous offenders being put behind bars. An investigation into the rape of a teenage girl was particularly challenging and relied on the girl’s bravery to provide evidence. Through compassion and gaining the victim’s trust, Julia secured charges but due to the pandemic the trial date was significantly delayed. Many would have struggled with the mental health impact of the delay, but Julia’s commitment and compassion helped the victim maintain her belief that justice would eventually be served, and the defendant is now in prison.
Chief Constable’s Award
Special Constable Sarah Severn – South Worcestershire
Sarah is an amazingly dedicated and skilled special constable who regularly commits to extra hours. She personifies the spirit of the West Mercia Police Special Constabulary and can be relied upon to deliver a high level of service to victims of crime. She was first to offer to go on shift with our new specials to help boost their confidence and her commitment to the role is both staggering and inspirational. Sarah’s caring attitude also extends outside of police work, where she is involved in raising money for charity following the very sad death of her daughter Daisy. Within the last 12 months, Sarah has worked 900 voluntary hours during 122 separate duties.