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For the first time, Leicestershire Police’s annual award ceremony was held virtually last night (Thursday 11 February) to celebrate and honour the hard work, dedication and bravery of police officers, staff and volunteers.
After years of Chief Constable Simon Cole hosting the highly anticipated event at a variety of locations in Leicester, with some evenings seeing over one-hundred guests attending, this year the show took place virtually.
Following a remarkably challenging year, viewers enjoyed tuning in with colleagues, family and close friends to hear the incredible efforts given by those who make Team Leicestershire the organisation it is. A total of 21 prestigious ‘Of the Year’ awards were presented on the night to inspirational individuals and teams from across the force.
Chief Constable Simon Cole QPM, who opened and co-presented the ceremony, said: “Covid-19 brought us one of the largest challenges but we have carried on doing what we do and making a difference to more than one million people. We do that because we work with all of the winners from tonight’s ‘Of the Year’ awards alongside the rest of our colleagues who produce fantastic work all year round. I’d also like to thank all of our partners and sponsors for their continued support.”
Deputy Chief Constable Rob Nixon QPM co-presented the show and added, “It’s been an extremely unusual year with lots of tests that have been thrown at us but despite them all, I personally have seen an amazing amount of team work. We continue to be pro-active and deliver a first rate service to the communities of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.”
Chief Constable Simon Cole and Deputy Chief Constable Rob Nixon hosting the virtual event
PC Davey Rawlings, Dedicated Neighbourhood Officer for Melton Mowbray Town Centre scooped up ‘Dedicated Neighbourhood Officer of the Year’ for his commitment and contribution in identifying the rise of cuckooing and county lines as an emerging threat. Labelled a ‘great protector’, Davey was also commended for his efforts on supporting, protecting and safeguarding everyone he comes into contact with, whether they are a vulnerable person, suspect or work colleague.
He said, “I began my career working in schools mentoring kids who have on occasion been exposed to crime. Speaking with them made me want to pursue a role that was preventing the crime from happening instead of hearing the impact it was making on young people as a consequence.
“Now having worked for the force for nine years, I’m thrilled to have won this award to show my sons. They think I’m a real life super hero for protecting our community. When I told my six-year old, he was delighted and that made me proud to serve my call to duty.”
Lord Willy Bach, Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire, said: “I try and make sure that the force here in Leicestershire is effective, efficient and legitimate. I’m proud to say that it is all those things and that’s because of all the police officers that make it up and of course the colleagues and staff that work so hard too.
“Everyone has said this year has been far from easy and that’s a definite understatement. It’s been extraordinary difficult for all of us who live in this area. I would like to thank before I leave the stage, all of those who work for Leicestershire Police for the brilliant job you do. I’m extremely proud of being your Police and Crime Commissioner for a police force that is among the very best in the country.”
H Shift based at Mansfield House and Euston Street in the City Centre, took the ‘PRT Team of the Year’ award for their professional and strong team ethic. Each member of the team was recognised for their strong operational judgements at incidents involving safeguarding, problem solving and investigations.”
The team’s video was one of many which were played to viewers as winners accepted their award. Sergeant Shauna Ashton, who spoke on behalf of the team, said: “I’d like to say a big thank you to our team for working so hard throughout 2020 and the nominators who put us forward for this award. I think it’s really key to say that our teams all start on shift together in their briefing, and they all end the shift together too. We’re very much a team from start to finish and may we continue like that.”
The virtual ceremony had a number of special guests including a video speech from Lord Lieutenant Mike Kapur who paid tribute to the enormous effort he’s seen from Leicestershire Police during the last year. Another fantastic speech was given by new student officer Khadeejah Mansur, who told her inspirational story of being a young woman feeling lost on her career path, to becoming the force’s first hijab wearing officer and making a massive impact. Another special guest was dog trainer PC Dave Oliver, who brought his two explosive dogs, Mabon and Rosie, on stage to speak about the impressive work carried out by his two dogs and the wider dogs unit.
A lifetime achievement award was given to retired officer Caz Steptoe following her forty-three years’ of service. Caz joined as a cadet in 1972 and progressed into a highly successful policing career, making her mark by becoming the first female beat officer in the Highfields and campaigning for patterned working which has massively improved the flexibility of working shifts for employees within the organisation.
The VCCA20 Winners:
Chief Constable Simon Cole, Deputy Chief Constable Rob Nixon, Student PC Khadeejah Mansur and PC Dave Oliver.