Awards recognise excellence and innovation in policing

Published

Top officers and staff celebrated for their contribution to policing.

PUBLISHED 22 JANUARY 2017

A police sergeant who tackled New Psychoactive Substances in the community and a Special Constable from one of the country’s most rural beats have been honoured in an awards ceremony recognising the work of officers and staff across Scotland.

They were amongst the winners at the inaugural Scottish Policing Excellence Awards held today at the Police Scotland College at Tulliallan. The Awards have been designed in partnership with the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) to recognise and reward excellence and innovation in policing. The Awards have been sponsored by Police Mutual.

Also among those receiving awards were:

•The Police Scotland Youth Volunteers who have deployed to more than 200 events country-wide

•An Inverness-based staff member whose interventions work helps combat bogus caller crime

•A community policing team from Lanarkshire whose work achieved a reduction in the sale of alcohol to under-age drinkers.

The event showcased the commitment, inspirational work and innovative projects under way across Police Scotland.

Chief Constable Phil Gormley, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, SPA Chair Andrew Flanagan and Police Mutual Finance Director Ian Cordwell presented the winners with their awards. 

Mr Flanagan said: “The most valuable asset in Scottish policing is, without a doubt, its people. Police Scotland and the SPA have a highly motivated and committed workforce. We are in no doubt that the loyalty and flexibility shown by our officers and staff in the last three years has been the biggest contributor to the continuing quality of service delivered to our communities.

“The Scottish Policing Excellence Awards is an opportunity to acknowledge and reward outstanding work that our officers and staff are delivering across Scotland to keep people safe and strengthen our communities. It also allows us to celebrate and share the most innovative pieces of work that are having a positive impact on how we deliver policing in a world of ever-changing challenges.”

The Chief Constable said: “It was an honour and privilege to meet both the winners and nominees today. The sheer breadth and scope of work being undertaken by officers and staff across Scotland, around the clock, with one focus - the safety of our communities – is truly inspiring. 

“The officers and staff should be proud of their efforts – and the public should take pride in the work of the police service in their communities. These awards are in recognition of the tremendous dedication and contribution to public service from our officers, our staff and our volunteers.”

The awards were open to all police officers and members of staff of any rank or grade. Nominees were put forward by colleagues and peers as a reflection of their hard work, commitment and efforts in promoting the ethos and values of Police Scotland. Each category was whittled down to a three person shortlist, with all the finalists invited to today’s ceremony.

Mr Matheson said: “Today’s ceremony highlights the hugely important impact Police Scotland staff have on not only protecting Scotland’s communities, but making them better places to live. Their efforts in going above and beyond the call of duty are not always publicised, but they are always appreciated, and I commend all of the nominees and recipients involved in today’s ceremony.”

Police Officer of the Year is Sergeant Neil Wilson of E Division (Edinburgh), who has made a sterling contribution to tackling the sale and impact of New Psychoactive Substances, or so-called Legal Highs. His results include securing the first forfeiture order in Scotland for NPS, reducing the availability of these harmful products. Sgt Wilson’s efforts have also contributed to the granting of a Temporary Drugs Class Order for methylphenidate.

Special Constable of the Year was named as Neil Morrison of L Division (Argyll & West Dunbartonshire). Neil lives on Mull and has served the community for 16 years, turning out on more than 40 occasions during 2015. Due to the remote location of his beat, he has taken charge of a broad range of incidents, including fatal road and marine accidents, mountain rescue situations when no other policing resources were available, as well as working to address anti-social behaviour concerns, drink driving and poaching. 

Probationer of the Year was PC Taylor Johnston of Q Division (Lanarkshire), who has received significant praise from colleagues and the public for her attitude as well as volunteering to mentor new probationer colleagues in their first few months as police officers.

Interventions Co-ordinator Laura Fisher from N Division (Highlands & Islands) was rewarded for her relentless work to protect the most vulnerablemembers of society by striving to eradicate Doorstep Crime with the Police Staff Member of the Year award

The Chief Constable’s Award was personally selected by Mr Gormley from the ten category winners and was presented to the Police Scotland Youth Volunteers, who won the Team of the Year award. The scheme was set up in 2014 to encourage young people aged 13 to 18 to participate in their communities while engaging positively with the police and exploring their own sense of adventure. PSYV members now number more than 550 across the country and have assisted at more than 200 events since the group’s inception, including the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Open Golf, the Wickerman Festival and numerous local events. PSYV plans to expand its membership to 1200 youth members and 350 adult volunteers to around 2000 by the end of 2016.

A Special Recognition Award was presented to Constable Jason Peter of U Division (Ayrshire) for his creativity and innovation in his use of social media at a local and divisional level. PC Peter’s efforts have led to him being short-listed for two years in a row for an international social media award, with him being described as a world leader in the use of social media in policing.

Officers in the Community Policing teams in Motherwell and Wishaw (Q Division – Lanarkshire) were recognised with the award for Greatest Contribution to Policing Priorities for their “You’re Asking For It” project to tackle the supply of alcohol to young people through adult proxy purchasing. Their work, in conjunction with the Scottish Government Alcohol Industry Partnership, led to a 20% reduction in street drinking offences along with the detection of 88 licensing offences.

E Division’s Meet the Police project won the Policing Partner of the Year award for its work with the children of inmates at HMP Edinburgh, in collaboration with the Scottish Prison Service and the Salvation Army. The scheme seeks to prevent mistrust becoming ingrained in the way youngsters view the police, and has seen a 900% increase in participants since its implementation. 

Police Scotland’s Polish Language Facebook Page scooped the Equality Award. The page, which was launched in summer 2015, delivers bespoke content relevant to the Scottish-Polish community to build confidence and increase reporting of crime.
Unsung Hero of the Year was presented to PC Christine Bonas, Operational Support Division for her work within Emergency, Event and Resilience Planning throughout a 12 -month period for her contribution to the successful delivery of many high-profile events. 

The Service Improvement Award was won by the Performance Support Team, J Division (Lothian & Scottish Borders). The team designed and implemented an in-house technical solution to enable senior management to access the most up-to-date performance information as rapidly as possible.

The awards were sponsored by Police Mutual, which offers financial products and wellbeing services exclusively for serving or retired Police Officers and Staff, Specials and their families.  

Police Mutual Finance Director Ian Cordwell said: “Police Mutual is delighted be involved in the very first Scottish Policing Excellence Awards as headline sponsor. It’s great to see such breadth and depth of police work being rewarded, and we too believe in celebrating the commitment and inspiring work being undertaken by officers, staff and partner organisations throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK. We hope to support these awards in rewarding great Scottish policing for many years to come.”