A detective who went the extra mile to ensure a terminally ill victim of child sex abuse could give evidence at court, an officer who led a team that recovered more than 100 bodies from terrorist attacks and human disasters in 2017, and a team who has taken dozens of firearms off the capital’s streets, were just some of those celebrated today, Friday, 9 March, at a special awards ceremony in central London.
The coveted Met Excellence Awards recognised a host of dedicated police work across 13 separate categories including Police Officer of the Year, Investigation of the Year and Victim Care.
The seventh annual awards ceremony was hosted by LBC radio’s Nick Ferrari, and brought together more than 350 officers, staff, volunteers and their family and friends, as well as partners and sponsors to celebrate amazing professionalism and dedication right across the Metropolitan Police Service.
For the first time in the awards’ history, Londoners were given the opportunity to cast their vote in two categories including Safer Neighbourhoods Team of the Year and Special Constable of the Year.
Thousands of Londoners took part in the public vote with Tooting Town Centre Safer Neighbourhoods Team and Special Police Sergeant Shane Clarke being chosen as the worthy winners.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, presented the Tooting Town Centre Safer Neighbourhoods Team with their award.
The team were nominated for their efforts in tackling anti-social behaviour, drugs and knife crime and their work to resolve community tensions during the Muslim festival of Ashura.
Tooting was experiencing a drug and anti-social behaviour problem, which escalated into gang and youth violence. The team identified eight gang members from a rap video posted on YouTube and they were prosecuted for 33 offences, including drug supply and possession of weapons.
To target drugs and knife crime, the team executed more than 50 warrants and carried out numerous weapons sweeps, which recovered more than 100 knives and weapons, and more than £150,000 worth of drugs. The Community Knife Crime Forum and Nicholas Stewart Project both praised the team.
When community tensions and disorder arose following the local mosque’s ban on the practice of self-flagellation during the Muslim festival of Ashura, the team arranged visits to the mosque. During these visits, they addressed the thousands of worshippers who come to Tooting each year to participate, explained the ban and the mosque’s desire to increase family attendance. They also identified those intending to break the ban and supported the mosque in getting more than 30 injunctions against them. As a result of the team’s actions, attendance increased by 30 per cent, no-one broke the ban and the team received the Community PEACE award.
The Mayor said: “There's no question that it's been a difficult time for London since we last met for the Excellence in Policing Awards. Yet in responding to some of the most terrible events, from terrorist attacks to the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower, we have seen the heroism and bravery of our police and other emergency services time and time again.
“On behalf of all Londoners, today is an opportunity to say thank you for the tireless efforts, professionalism and dedication of the women and men of the Metropolitan Police Service. We are immensely proud and grateful.”
Scooping the Special Constable of the Year Award was Shane Clarke, a Special Police Sergeant based in Barnet.
Shane volunteers on average 48 hours a week on top of working full time as a postman. He also manages the development of all the borough’s special constables and trains new recruits.
Shane has organised joint operations and set-up an initiative to deploy specials to work with different teams and boroughs across the Met, including CID and the Wanted Offenders Unit.
It was an emotional moment at the ceremony when PC Keith Palmer was honoured with the Bravery of the Year award for his courageous actions on 22 March 2017 when he sacrificed his life to protect his colleagues and members of the public. Tobias Ellwood MP was also honoured at the ceremony with an Outstanding Contribution award for his valiant efforts on the day in rushing to PC Palmer’s aid.
The Home Secretary Amber Rudd said of the award: “PC Keith Palmer gave his life to protect the public. His courage and dedication to duty in confronting a vicious terrorist is testimony to the bravery shown every day by our police, who work so hard to keep us safe.
“It is absolutely fitting that PC Palmer and the outstanding bravery he showed have been honoured in this way. He paid the ultimate sacrifice in carrying out his duties and I am deeply grateful for his commitment to protect our country and its people.”
Picking-up Police Officer of the Year was PC Philip Stone, Disaster Victim Identification Coordinator.
PC Stone is responsible for coordinating the work of the Met’s Disaster Victim Identification Cadre, which organises the national and international recovery and identification of human remains for the coroner to repatriate them to their families.
The cadre is deployed at short notice and works in the most challenging environments. The role is physically and mentally demanding, and PC Stone has worked tirelessly for funding for equipment and training.
Last year, PC Stone coordinated the response to five very different events, including terrorist attacks and human disasters across the UK. In 2017, his teams recovered more than 110 bodies, and all have been positively identified and repatriated to their families.
Proudly going home with the Investigation of the Year Award was DC Hannah Stewart from the East Region Child Abuse Investigation Team.
DC Stewart led a time sensitive, logistically challenging investigation into a child sexual abuse offence. The victim had Motor Neurone disease, with a life expectancy of less than six months, and was no longer able to speak.
DC Stewart arranged for a Specialist Neurologist Consultant to act as an intermediary between her and the victim. She arranged for a private company to install specialist technology that would let the victim give evidence by blinking – a first in the UK.
The Judge commented on DC Stewart’s innovation to ensure the victim was able to provide evidence. Tragically, on the day of the verdict, the victim sadly passed away, not knowing that the suspect had been convicted.
Trident’s Operation Viper Team won the Operational / Specialist Team of the Year Award. The Operation Viper team is the Met’s response to the increase in firearm crime.
In its first four months, the team executed more than 100 warrants, recovered 80 firearms, arrested more than 400 suspects and seized £120,000 in cash as well as vast amounts of drugs, ammunition and imitation firearms.
The Building a Better Met Award went to the Body Worn Video Project Team. To improve public confidence in police and the Met’s accountability and transparency, the team successfully issued more than 21,000 cameras across 150 locations in 2017 – the largest global roll out of body worn cameras.
The cameras have already been issued to officers across the 32 boroughs, to officers from the Roads and Transport Policing Command, the Territorial Support Group, Marine Policing Unit, Dog Support Unit, Aviation Policing and Specialist Crime Units.
At this time, the Met is the only UK force digitally sharing BWV footage with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Since the roll-out, officers have recorded just over 1.6 million videos, and now routinely submit around 4,500 clips a month to the CPS. The benefits of which have led to speedier justice and helped save valuable officer time, who are no longer required to burn footage onto multiple discs to submit footage as evidence.
Commissioner Cressida Dick, said: "I thoroughly enjoyed my first Met Excellence Awards as Commissioner. It was wonderful to see so many officers, staff, volunteers and community members at the event and to hear their stories. The awards provide a great opportunity to showcase some of the extraordinary effort that goes into protecting Londoners and making our city safer for everyone.
"Thank you to all the men and women of the Met who give so much for London every single day."
The awards were sponsored by Accenture UK Ltd, DHL, Eurofins Forensic Services and Met Friendly Society Limited.
- Bravery Award: PC Keith Palmer
- Outstanding Contribution: Tobias Ellwood MP
- Police Staff of the Year: Claire Summers - National Digital Exploitation Service (NDES), SO15
- Police Officer of the Year: PC Philip Stone - Disaster Victim Identification Coordinator, SC&O
- Support Team of the Year: Human Resources Major Incident Support Team – People & Change, Met HQ Operations Support Team - Property Services, Met HQ
- Operational / Specialist Team of the Year: Operation Viper Team – Trident and Area Crime Command (SCO8)
- Investigation of the Year: DC Hannah Stewart - East Region Child Abuse Investigation Team, Territorial Policing
- Safer Neighbourhoods Team of the Year (public vote): Tooting Safer Neighbourhoods Team
- Special Constable of the Year (public vote): Shane Clarke - Met Special Constabulary (MSC), Barnet borough
- Volunteer of the Year: Jenny Haughian - Paddington and West End Central, Westminster Borough
- Cadet of the Year: Nabil Laasid - Kensington & Chelsea Borough
The other shortlisted cadets - Victoria Sullivan, Hollie Osborn and Matthew Hollis – were all highly commended and received trophies at the ceremony.
- Victim Care Award: DC Nicky Dawes - Central North Command Unit Safeguarding Team
- The Met Citizen Award (for members of the public): Sally Burnikell – Newham Borough
- Building a Better Met Award: Body Worn Video Project Team – Met HQ
- Special Recognition Award:
North Resourcing Hub – SCO22, SC&O
PC Tony Marchant - Aviation Policing, SO
PS Andrew Pettet - Newham borough
PC Ceyhun Uzun - Westminster borough
Cherie Rosario – Multi agency safeguarding hubs (MASH), Brent borough