This week we are celebrating the outstanding achievements of five of our women in policing.
Chief Superintendent Caroline Peters was this weekend appointed an MBE as part of the Queen’s birthday honours.
An MBE is awarded for a significant achievement or outstanding service to the community. Caroline was recognised for her services to Policing, and the announcement also highlighted her operational lead in the response to the Somerset floods in 2014.
Caroline began her career in the police service with the Metropolitan Police in 1987 serving in central London. She transferred to Avon and Somerset Constabulary in 2003. Caroline has led some key events including Glastonbury Festival, royal visits and various high-profile football matches.
Caroline said: “I am absolutely thrilled and genuinely taken aback. I am immensely proud to receive the award. I would like to thank my husband and family for all their support throughout my career – I could not have done it without them!" She added:
“Policing is a fantastic career and I feel so privileged to work with some great people.”
Temporary Chief Constable John Long said: “Caroline's leadership has been instrumental in several high profile and major incidents – most notably the Somerset Floods in 2014 when she worked tirelessly, day and night, to ensure that the policing operation and our partner agencies were meeting the unprecedented demands placed upon us in the service of the public, who are always at the forefront of Caroline's thinking.”
John added: “Caroline is an exemplary officer who leads from the front and has shown unwavering commitment to public service and the communities she has served since she started her policing career in 1987. We are thrilled that Caroline's dedication has been rewarded with an MBE.”
Today was also the 9th Annual British Association for Women in Policing Awards, with Detective Chief Superintendent Sue Scott receiving the Lifetime Achievement award, Chief Inspector Jackie Gold receiving the International Award, PCSO Paula Perry and Dispatcher Lauren Minor being highly commended for their work.
Sue joined us as cadet at 16 years old in 1983 before becoming an officer in 1985. She has worked her way up through the ranks and is now Chief Superintendent, Head of Specialist Operations.
The BAWP said: “Sue makes an outstanding contribution to the organisation ensuring Avon and Somerset delivers their service promise to the public. She is a distinguished role model and has made a significant contribution to the advancement of women.”
They added: “She has overseen some of the most complex, challenging and culturally diverse critical incidents and investigated large organised crime groups as well as crime in rural parts of the Constabulary, all with great vigour and tenacity.
Sue has worked her way up the ranks, and also had time to gain a Master’s Degree from Bristol University.”
“I am extremely proud to be a police officer and be part of such a "can-do" team of people.
"It's a fantastic job, sometimes extremely challenging, difficult and at times frightening, but ultimately exceptionally rewarding. I work with people who care deeply about our local communities and are truly committed to providing the public a fantastic service, often in the most difficult circumstances.”
Paula has worked in Bristol since 2006 and has been recognised for her dedication and meticulous attention to detail in investigating intelligence reports in the area. Her determination in disrupting rogue trading has made a huge impact on vulnerable victims of human trafficking in her area.
Paula’s diligent work formed part of a multi-agency operation targeting Traveller organised crime groups engaged in human trafficking of vulnerable eastern European women forced into labour, where more than 62 potential victims were identified and safeguarding measures put in place. She displayed a huge amount of care for those vulnerable and at risk of exploitation.
BAWP said: "Paula's exceptional work has made a difference to these women’s lives."
Lauren was just 17 when she took a call from a woman in crisis and in need of help. The woman was crying and saying she could not get hold of the emergency mental health crisis team. Lauren offered reassurance and support while at the same time creatively obtaining information as to the woman's location without alerting the woman to her tactics.
Lauren was then able to help coordinate the search and deployment of resources to locate her. Lauren was calm and collected throughout this highly stressful call and built trust with the woman. The woman was eventually located and safeguarded.
BAWP said: "The incident lasted for over five hours and was an outstanding test of resilience and skill, commitment and achievement."
Jackie Gold, an Avon and Somerset officer, was seconded to the United Nations Mission (UNMISS) in South Sudan in August 2014. She was deployed as part of the team to introduce a community oriented policing model across South Suddan, a country in conflict where thousands of civilians have been killed following divisions between the ethnic lines of differing tribes.
Jackie began working in one of the Protection of Civilian sites in Juba. She worked with displaced people to develop a Community Watch Group - UN police who patrol the camps are very limited in their powers and have no access to the legal system in South Sudan. Jackie designed and delivered a basic problem solving training programme to over 150 Community Watch Group members to reduce demand on the UN and, more importantly, to empower the people.
Once peace prevails, initiatives such as this will help rebuild public confidence and trust in the national police force and help to create safe environments so that internally displaced persons will have confidence to return to their homes.
We are extremely proud to celebrate the achievements of our female officers and staff.