MPS Commissioner praises ‘exceptional’ officers recognised in New Year Honours

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Commissioner has praised the “outstanding commitment and service” of her officers who were recognised in Queen’s New Year Honours.

Dec 31, 2020
By Paul Jacques
Dame Cressida Dick

Dame Cressida Dick said those officers honoured have been “exceptional in their job” and display the very best traditions of policing.

Two officers were appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) – Detective Inspector Lee Barnard, for services to policing and to victims of domestic abuse, and Detective Sergeant Janet Hills, for services to policing and to community relations.

Det Insp Barnard has played a major role in safeguarding vulnerable victims and tackling domestic abuse, stalking and harassment offences. He was the driving force behind a successful bid to the Home Office, which lead to the creation of the multi-agency Stalking Threat Assessment Centre that has reduced the risk of harm to some of London’s most vulnerable victims of crime. He has advised both national and international police forces in domestic abuse and stalking.

As ambassador for domestic abuse, he has arranged training for more than 11,000 frontline police officers and staff.

Det Insp Barnard said: “I feel truly humbled and honoured to receive this award and hope that it may draw more attention to tackling domestic abuse and stalking.

“I would like to recognise the hard working staff within our Community Safety Units across London, as well as the tireless and dedicated victim advocates, the charities and the support services that work within this sector.

“I would also like to recognise the work of my immediate line manager, along with numerous senior officers, who have always shown faith and supported me in everything I have tried to do to improve the service the Met provides to victims of domestic abuse and stalking.”

Det Sgt Hills has been a role model for women and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) police officers. She was the first woman to lead the National Black Police Association (BPA) as well as the Metropolitan Police Service Black Police Association (MPSBPA). She started her policing career in Brixton on a response team, before training as a detective, and working in a number of roles throughout her career. The MPS says her dedication to BAME officers, staff and communities in London has helped to support recruitment and inclusion and increase confidence in the police.

Det Sgt Hills said: “It is an absolute privilege to be receiving this award. I feel truly humbled to be nominated by people who have recognised my efforts in trying to bridge the gap between the African, Caribbean and Asian heritage communities in the UK and the police service.

“In accepting this award I recognise the people that have walked this path with me and thank them for their advice and support. This has been a particularly hard year for so many people and I hope that this news brings as much joy to them as it has to me.”

Other MPS officers and staff recognised in the New Year Honours were:

Special Inspector Olson Oxenham – British Empire Medal (BEM), for services to policing;

Police Constable Ceyhun Uzun – BEM, for services to policing and charity;

Police Constable Lancelot Edmondson – BEM, for services to community policing in Lambeth;

Detective Chief Superintendent Kate Halpin – Queen’s Police Medal (QPM), for distinguished service;

Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Tucker – QPM, for distinguished service;

Chief Superintendent Sally Benatar (retired) – QPM, for distinguished service;

Chief Superintendent Jane Johnson – QPM, for distinguished service;

Superintendent Hannah Wheeler – QPM, for distinguished service;

Police Constable Martin Pether (retired) – Royal Victorian Medal (Silver); and

Police Staff Audrey Rozario – Royal Victorian Medal (Silver).

Dame Cressida said: “I was delighted to learn of our colleagues who have been recognised in Her Majesty’s New Year Honours.

“I wish to congratulate them all and thank them for their outstanding commitment and service.

“Each recipient has been exceptional in their job, and throughout their career has gone above and beyond in order to make a real difference to public safety, to policing and to London. They are all an inspiration and display the very best traditions of policing.

“I am proud of the recipients and all the men and women of the Met who will continue to be there for the public, to keep them safe whatever challenges London may face.”

Special Insp Oxenham joined the MPS Special Constabulary in 1979, serving his entire policing career in Barnet. Over the past 41 years, he has constantly volunteered well in excess of the requirement of his time. He has saved lives by providing first aid, arrested countless criminals and as a police leader, he has supported recruitment campaigns encouraging BAME people to consider a career with the MPS. He personally led recruitment events in Barnet, which have resulted in the borough having the highest number of Special Constables.

Special Insp Oxenham said: “I have gained a lot from my time in the Met and I appreciate the many exciting opportunities offered to me, alongside the chance to fulfil my passion in pursuing justice and fairness for everyone.

“I am proud to have become a role model for BAME police officers, encouraging trust and respect within the Met community. I am greatly honoured to have received this award.

“It’s a reflection of my 41 years of voluntary service, which would not have been possible without the support and friendship of colleagues and of course without my family, who showed never-ending backing and encouragement throughout the years.”

PC Uzun, a Safer Schools officer, works with young people who are vulnerable to being drawn into crime. He works alongside students and their teachers to encourage young people to channel their energies for the better and divert them away from crime. He was also involved in setting up a successful running club for young people.

In 2013, PC Uzun’s daughter, Tanyel, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bone cancer and later sadly died. Since Tanyel’s diagnosis, PC Uzun has dedicated himself to raising money for children with cancer. His efforts have raised more £200,000 so far and for three consecutive years, he has achieved official Guinness World Record titles at the London Marathon. PC Uzun also set up a registered charity in his daughter’s memory, which helps children and their families through cancer, and has funded an Oncology Centre in Northern Cyprus.

PC Uzun said: “In what became a daunting time for me after losing my only child, I managed to find the strength in fundraising to help other children suffering from cancer and helps me to keep my daughter’s name alive by setting up ‘Tanyel’s Smile.’

“My passion for my job continues and as a schools officer I continue to mentor, motivate and inspire children I work with.

“I am honoured and extremely humbled to have been recognised and thank you everyone who has supported me.”

PC Edmondson is a well-known and trusted Community Liaison Police Officer in Lambeth, where he has served for more than 25 years. The MPS says he always acts in the best interests of the local community and his wealth of local knowledge means that colleagues, both peers and seniors often ask him for advice on local issues.

PC Edmondson has developed strong relationships with clubs and businesses in the area, and supported the creation of a local forum for business owners to come together to share good practice and information, enabling police to take action against known criminals. He also has strong links to faith communities and worked closely with them to develop the Faiths Together Group, as well as with the Dwyanamics initiative, which diverts young people away from crime through a successful boxing project. PC Edmondson’s work has helped to break down barriers and improve trust and confidence in the police.

PC Edmondson said: “This award has come as a great surprise to me. When I joined 26 years ago, I could never have imagined that I would receive such an award. Spending all this time in the Borough of Lambeth, I have met and worked with numerous people who are dedicated to improving community and police relationship.

“I would never have received this award if it wasn’t for the brilliant community who have been so supportive and willing to work with me throughout the years.

“I would also like to thank my colleagues who are just as dedicated as I am to improving community and police relationships. As Robert Peel said all those years ago – the police are the public and the public are the police, and this cannot be more true to my role and the community I serve.”

Det Chief Supt Halpin has served almost 30 years of distinguished service in the MPS, playing key roles in representing the police service abroad and was the first British woman to be awarded the Fulbright Police Fellowship in 2000.

Her drive for diversity, equality and inclusion shined through in her determination to celebrate the Centenary of Women Policing London in 2019, her efforts culminating in the celebration at Westminster Abbey, where she was invited to lay the wreath on behalf of the MPS. In 2004, she was seconded to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as the UK Contingent Commander at the Jordan International Police Training Centre to train Iraqi police recruits and lead 75 UK officers to deliver this training. Det Chief Supt Halpin is also the dedicated Secretary for the Metropolitan Police Superintendents Association.

Det Chief Supt Halpin said: “I am stunned and humbled to be considered worthy of this award for doing a job that I absolutely love, just like my grandfather did before me and was the inspiration for my career choice.

“However, I know it wouldn’t have been possible without my family, friends and the many outstanding colleagues who have supported, advised and worked alongside me over the last 30 years and this recognition is a reflection of their commitment as much as mine.”

Over a 35-year career in policing, Det Chief Supt Tucker has provided, and continues to provide, inspirational leadership. He has served in a variety of roles throughout his career, the majority of which were in East London. He has led public protection, robbery and burglary teams. He set up a gangs unit and proactive licencing team, both of which contributed to a reduction in levels of violent crime in Newham borough. In 2011, he led work in Camden to dismantle an organised criminal network that was targeting elderly people through large-scale ‘cold’ frauds.

In 2018, he became the commander of North East Basic Command Unit (BCU), which compromises Waltham Forest and Newham boroughs, working tirelessly to reduce violent crime and in particular, gang related violence.

Det Chief Supt Tucker said: “Being honoured was a complete surprise and an extremely humbling moment. My first thoughts when I heard the great news was of the day my parents dropped me off at Hendon training school on a very dark and wet evening 35 years ago.

“Policing is in the family as my father was a detective superintendent. He retired 31 years ago and my parents now live in Ireland. I know they will be incredibly proud of this recognition.

“My other thoughts fall to all the incredible people who I have had the privilege to work with over all these years. The women and men who everyday come to work and do something amazing. Sometimes it is the very small things that make a real difference. While many things have changed in my 35 years of service, the principles of policing and those acts of courage and compassion haven’t changed one bit.

“My last words would to be thank all my family, friends and colleagues who over the years have found time to help me.”

Now-retired Chief Supt Benatar led the creation of the South West BCU, which was the first area to ‘go-live’ following the MPS’s transformation to BCUs. As part of this, she successfully brought together partners from across four local authorities. Chief Supt Benatar achieved this through the formation of strong and close partnerships with all her partners and local authority leaders and chief executives, through her style that inspired trust, listening, mutual respect and accessibility. As BCU commander, Chief Supt Benatar operated with integrity and compassion, prioritising the needs of victims of crime and the welfare of her staff above everything else.

She became an advocate for domestic abuse victims, speaking honestly about her own experiences and passionately about supporting employees experiencing domestic abuse in the workplace.

Retired Chief Supt Benatar, said: “Policing is all about teamwork and I have loved working with so many dedicated colleagues and partners throughout my service, most recently in South West London.

“In particular, I couldn’t have done my job of BCU commander the way I wanted to without the leadership and support of my brilliant deputy, Simon Message, and my executive support team.

“I feel so lucky that I became a police officer with the Met and today I’m feeling happy and proud to receive this unexpected recognition for doing the job I loved.”

Over a 32-year policing career, which began as a volunteer police cadet and continues today, Chief Supt Johnson continues to lead the MPS’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command. She was appointed to the role in 2016 and has forged strong links within Parliament since them, which continue today and ensure the safety and security of Parliamentarians and Diplomatic Corps.

Chief Supt Johnson, said: “This award was an unexpected and lovely surprise. I appreciate that it recognises the work I’ve done over the last 32 years for the people of London. The Met is a fantastic organisation full of amazing, dedicated and brave people. I pay tribute to them for the work they do every single day and in particular, to the teams I’ve led and been part of, most recently the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command.

“From police cadet to chief superintendent I’m proud and privileged to have enjoyed a wonderful and varied career. I’m grateful for the opportunities the Met has given me and I hope my experiences and achievements might inspire girls and young women to choose a career in policing. Thank you.”

At the start of the coronavirus outbreak, T/Supt Wheeler was seconded to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services. She moved to lead the work of establishing and coordinating the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) to police forces in the UK, on behalf of the National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC).

Supt Wheeler, said: “I am truly honoured and humbled by this recognition. This has been the most challenging and demanding undertaking.

“The sheer process of setting up the PPE strand of work in a matter of days in order to supply our frontline with the vital PPE they need to keep themselves, their families and communities safe has been monumental. Our mission of saving lives was at the forefront of everything we did.

“My team of brilliant police staff and officers has been outstanding throughout and continues to be, and none of this could have been achieved without their support and dedication and the ongoing support of my family, friends and colleagues.”

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