9 October 2019
Two police forces’ investigative operations have been recognised nationally with a top detectives’ award. The Detective Investigation of the Year award was won jointly by a team from Thames Valley Police, which spent more than two years under Operation Silk investigating child exploitation and serious sexual offences in the Oxford area; and Operation Quantum, a serious investigation by Hampshire Constabulary into historical child sexual abuse within the footballing community.
The outstanding and dedicated work of detectives across England Wales was recognised by the Police Federation’s National Detectives’ Forum (PFNDF) with a series of awards presented to individuals and teams for their work and commitment to investigative policing.
The PFNDF awards, sponsored by Police Credit Union, were held as part of a two-day seminar at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole on Wednesday 9 October, with the work of detectives across the country recognised by peers.
Operation Silk was a detailed investigation that resulted in a six-month trial, eight of 11 defendants were finally sentenced to custodial terms from seven and a half to 15 years including one life-term. With the total sentences handed out exceeding 100 years, Operation Silk, led by former DCI, now Principal Investigator, Mark Glover and DI Nicola Douglas, was deemed a significant success.
Operation Quantum involved the football coach Bob Higgins who was a youth coach at Southampton Football Club (SFC), ran the Bob Higgins Football Academy and was then youth coach at Peterborough United Football Club (PUFC). Hampshire police began a detailed investigation into a sensitive issue that eventually resulted in June 2019 with Higgins convicted of 45 counts of indecent assault. The investigation received feedback from the victims and witnesses praising the exceptional support, professionalism and integrity that the team provided.
Glyn Pattinson, PFNDF chair, believes both forces were an outstanding example of complex investigations with multiple witnesses and victims who were all treated with compassion and support.
Commenting on the work of Operation Silk, Glyn Pattison said: "The cases covered by Operation Silk were not only sensitive, requiring compassion from the detectives in dealing with the victims, but they were also complex in their links and required diligence and analytical minds to resolve the issues. This was a difficult case that tested the detectives and they proved they were more than up to the task."
Commenting on the work of Operation Quantum, Glyn Pattison said: "This was an investigation that touched on a delicate and upsetting series of sexual offences. The detectives showed they could deal with the facts and the victims without compounding their ordeals. The team showed a resilience and determination to bring the perpetrator to justice and that was met with universal appreciation."
The runners-up in this category was a Metropolitan Police investigation team for their work on a complex and sensitive investigation with harrowing crimes committed by a mother and father against their young child. The team, including DS Lauren Brady, DC Laura Welham and DC Mark Crane successfully secured convictions against both parents.
Operation Evolution from Leicestershire Police won third place for their work on an attempted murder inquiry of significant proportions. It was dealt with almost single-handedly by one officer. The officer in charge prepared appeals of some of the sentences, adding four years of prison time to the original sentences and securing a custodial sentence in place of the original suspended one.