The outstanding work of officers and colleagues was celebrated at Cheshire Constabulary’s annual ACE (Achieving Cheshire Excellence) Awards on Friday 21 October.
An ACE Award is the highest accolades that can be awarded to an individual or team that has gone that extra mile or demonstrated exceptional commitment to policing in Cheshire.
This year’s ceremony was the eighth annual event and took place at Rookery Hall Hotel and Spa in Nantwich.
The event was presented by ITV weather presenter Emma Jesson.
A total of eleven awards were issued for a range of fantastic work which took place across the force during the period June 2021 to May 2022.
Chief Constable Mark Roberts said, “The ACE Awards give us the chance to highlight and celebrate the outstanding work of individuals and teams across the Constabulary, and we have once again seen the exceptional hard work and dedication of our officers and colleagues in this year’s nominations.
“We have made huge progress as a force during the past 12-months as we strive to achieve our mission of delivering even safer communities for the whole of Cheshire whilst making the county a hostile place for criminals.
“I would like to congratulate the winners of each of the 11 award categories and thank all those who nominated an individual or a team this year.
“The ACE Awards highlight the fact that we have some truly outstanding people at Cheshire Constabulary.
“The award winners and shortlisted finalists thoroughly deserve recognition for their dedicated service to both the Force and the communities we serve.”
Police and Crime Commissioner John Dwyer added, “I am so proud of every nominee and winner at this year’s ACE Awards. There are so many talented officers, staff and volunteers throughout the Constabulary and great examples of them going above and beyond, that it is only right that we celebrate their efforts and achievements.
“Their commitment to making Cheshire an even safer place to live, work and visit is inspirational. The categories just show the wide range of fantastic work being done across the force and I would like to thank the nominees, winners and every member of the police family for their dedication to keeping Cheshire’s residents safe.”
The winners of this year’s award categories were as follows:
Working in Partnership (including innovation)
PCs Jayne Drum and Sophie Berry and Specialist Victims Advocates Vicky Lowry and Tracey Birchall, Warrington Beat Management and Harm Reduction Unit
A witness of domestic abuse supported the police by providing CCTV footage of the incident. Sadly, the people he sought to protect then subjected him to an horrendous and prolonged campaign of stalking and harassment. The subsequent collaboration between Warrington Beat Management officers Jayne Drum and Sophie Berry and Specialist Victim Advocates Vicky Lowry and Tracey Birchall was innovative and compassionate. They worked tirelessly to bring the two offenders to justice and protect vulnerable people, resulting in 12-month prison sentences and five-year restraining orders being secured against the pair.
Inspirational Leadership (including wellbeing)
Senior Coroner’s Officer Nikki Doyle, Coroner’s Office – Major Investigation Team (MIT)
Nikki Doyle is the epitome of an inspirational leader. She is calm, caring and motivational in all aspects of her role as a Senior Coroner’s Officer. Nikki always makes all members of the team feel like they matter, both on a collective and individual level. No problem is ever too much for her, and she always puts the team first. She has all the characteristics you could ever want in a manager. Nikki is kind, caring, approachable and professional. She also always sets the bar high for herself and motivates her team to follow suit.
Services to the Public (including community engagement)
PC Jim Day, Economic Crime Unit
Police Constable Jim Day is the Economic Crime Unit’s Financial Abuse Safeguarding and Prevent Officer for vulnerable victims of fraud. He has provided an outstanding service to his victims, ensuring that they are protected by creating a network of Fraud Champions across Cheshire Constabulary. This achievement is a result of Jim’s energy, enthusiasm and motivation. Furthermore, he has pioneered a new way of working that has resulted in him recovering almost £500,000 for vulnerable victims of fraud. Jim has achieved this through challenging the banks, who refund the victim directly.
Investigator of the Year
PC Kevin Anderson, Northwich LPU Neighbourhood Team
For over three years Police Constable Kevin Anderson single-handedly led one of the most complex, in-depth and disturbing stalking investigations in the history of UK policing. He went above and beyond for the multiple victims of the extreme online harassment, not only as an investigator but also as a witness care provider, offering support throughout the whole court process. Kevin showed care, compassion and empathy for all the victims, and his outstanding work resulted in the offender, Matthew Hardy, being jailed for nine years, which is a record sentence for stalking offences.
Making a Difference
Armed Forces Liaison Officer Graham Evans
As our Armed Forces Liaison Officer, Graham Evans has single-handedly transformed how we support our veteran and reservist colleagues. He personally provides support and guidance to those who have returned from deployments, enabling them to smoothly transition back into the organisation. Graham set up and chairs the Armed Forces Network, providing colleagues with a variety of advice, guidance and support, and his work within the Constabulary has seen us achieve Gold Award status as part of the Ministry of Defence’s Employer Recognition Scheme. This is the highest possible recognition for supporting the armed forces community.
Volunteer of the Year
Stella Lappin has been a dedicated Independent Custody Visitor for 13 years, undertaking unannounced visits to Runcorn to check on the welfare of detainees. Fellow volunteers look to Stella for advice based on her experience and willingness to help, and she has always gone the extra mile to ensure that detainee welfare is of the highest standard. Stella is a real team player who makes an outstanding contribution to both policing and the community of Cheshire. She was due to retire three years ago but agreed to continue to assist with bringing in new volunteers.
Team of the Year
T/Inspector Samantha Wesseldine, Supervisor Peter Lee, DS Michael Waters, DS Gavin Hastings, T/DS Dave Walton and Investigator Samantha Goodman – Digital Media Investigation Unit
The demand for digital device examinations has risen exponentially in recent years, with over 95 per cent of crime now having a digital element. This, coupled with a rise in online child abuse referrals, has resulted in a hugely increased workload for the digital forensics team. Despite this, the team has this year significantly reduced computer download backlogs and phone backlogs. This has vastly improved the Constabulary’s capability to detect crime, protect vulnerable people and provide a much better service to victims.
Special Constable of the Year
Special Constable Euan Hendry, Warrington LPU
Over the past year Euan Hendry has completed over 1,100 hours as a Special, the majority of which have been working alongside Warrington C Block. Euan volunteered during the extremely busy festive period, even joining officers for a shift on Christmas Day, all while working his full-time job as a pilot for EasyJet. He is always positive and brings a lot of motivation and humour to the team. The hours and effort that Euan gives to policing is admirable. He always gives 100 per cent and is very much one of the Warrington LPU team.
PCSO of the Year`
PCSOs Tom Faulkner and Scott Watson, Congleton LPU
Tom Faulkner and Scott Watson have worked tirelessly to develop the ‘Cross County Games’, a youth engagement project that uses sports activities to interact with local youngsters. This has helped to significantly reduce anti-social behaviour incidents, by improving the relationship between local policing and youngsters aged between 10 and 16. Over 400 have attended eight events held in the past year, with a reduction in reported ASB incidents of between 43 per cent and 56 per cent. Tom and Scott have shown exceptional dedication to this project, in addition to the daily role they perform as PCSOs.
Police Staff of the Year
Business Intelligence Analyst Phoebe Liebelt, Business Intelligence Planning and Performance
Phoebe Liebelt has shown dedicated commitment to modernising and enhancing the way we use information to improve our services to the public, playing a fundamental role in introducing Power BI technology to the frontline. The digital intelligence designed by Phoebe has given colleagues greater control of threat, harm and risk and created huge efficiency savings, enabling more intelligence-led decision making and receiving praise from HMICFRS in recent inspections. Phoebe is an exceptional member of staff – the type that managers dream of! – and she deserves to be recognised as one of Cheshire’s finest.
Police Officer of the Year
DS Justin Jones, Western Chester CID
Detective Sergeant Justin Jones is an inspirational member of Chester CID. He supervises a block of Detectives to a very high standard, ensuring that victims of serious crime are dealt with compassionately and effectively and that great results are achieved. Alongside his role at Chester CID, he has been instrumental in implementing and driving the work of Operation Hunted, which ensures that suspects across the western area are managed effectively. The operation provides an oversight of the most wanted people who are causing the most harm to the communities of Cheshire.
Image: The winners at the awards ceremony