Police Federation

National awards celebrates excellent detectives

10 October 2019

The outstanding and dedicated work of detectives across England Wales has been 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 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 their peers. The awards were made to individual officers and to detective teams that displayed diligence and dedication in bringing the cases they were involved in to conclusion.

Awards were presented in the following categories: Detective Investigation of the Year; Services to Detectives; the technology-based Smarter Detective; New Trainee Detective of the Year; and the PFNDF Regional Recognition 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, an investigation by Hampshire Constabulary into the issues of historical child sexual abuse within the footballing community. 

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 Constabulary began a thorough investigation that eventually resulted in Higgins being 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.

Trainee Detective of the Year was won by TDC Clare Harrison of Greater Manchester Police, who is based in Oldham. Her nomination included the commendation that she was a dogged and determined investigator, despite being a detective for only a short period. She was praised for her work on child protection investigations which displayed her sympathetic and supportive work with those involved in those cases. One of the commendations centred on Clare’s knowledge and best practice of police procedures, which contributed to her nomination and award.

DC Nick Mills from West Midlands Police took the Services to Detectives award, following a career that has seen him reshape the way training is developed and handled, not only in the West Midlands, but across the country. He is credited with recreating and revolutionising the way West Midlands Police delivers the Initial Crime Investigators’ Development Programme and is recognised for his skills and abilities in investigations and passing that knowledge onto those working on the frontline.

In the Smarter Detective of the Year category, it was Operation Doubrava from Derbyshire Constabulary, led by T/Detective Inspector Carl Chetwyn that took the award. This was a complex case centred on human trafficking and modern slavery and the team worked jointly with the State Police of Latvia on a large-scale conspiracy investigation into a Roma Latvian organised crime gang. This was a multi-agency investigation that involved not only the Operation Doubrava team, but also AP Phoenix, Europol, the Crown Prosecution team, the National Crime Agency and Latvian authorities. Despite the complex nature of the case, the Derbyshire Constabulary team’s intensive work resulted in nine of the 11 defendants sentenced to a total of 33 years, with subsequent deportation orders to follow.

The overall Regional Recognition Award winner was chosen from an impressive shortlist and it is a testament to her dedication in spending 23 years in child protection that saw DC Kate Hillman of Devon & Cornwall Police take the award. Working with children is a demanding role but Kate has applied vigorous and detailed investigative work to every one of her cases. Her recent work with Operation Felspar – a complicated child sexual abuse case – involved her in a lengthy period of travelling and interviewing that resulted in the perpetrator receiving a 12-year sentence, along with his name added to the sex offenders register. Other notable cases DC Kate Hillman worked on included an investigation into a Plymouth scout leader who eventually received six years for offences against children, and Operation Bogan, a distressing investigation into an assault on a child for which the offender was sentenced to seven years.

Glyn Pattinson, PFNDF chair, was full of praise for the work of the country’s overstretched but focussed detectives.

"When you listen to the outstanding work these detectives have been doing over the past few years you realise how dedicated they are to crime fighting. The Police Federation’s National Detectives’ Forum has recognised the ground-breaking and dedicated work detectives of all ranks are handling each day. It is not stretching credibility to say that detectives, as with all police officers, see their work as a vocation, and going the extra mile and more is why they achieve the results they do. We must recognise they are a credit to themselves, their forces and the country.

"Sitting on the judging panel has given me an even deeper insight into the work our detectives do often when confronted with some of the most harrowing and complex cases involving children, young people and vulnerable adults. The hard part of the judging was deciding an overall winner as so many of the nominations were significant in so many ways. When we sometimes say, ‘we have the best police service in the world,’ we may not always recognise the truth in those words. But we know from what we have been presented with during these awards that it is only scratching the surface. Our detectives are recognised for being the best and this is our chance to thank and reward them for their efforts."

More details of the winners, including runners-up and other shortlisted nominees and pictures can be found on our events page.

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