Tina's story: National recognition for officer giving a voice to the overlooked

An officer who worked tirelessly to transform attitudes towards women trapped in the street sex trade has been handed the national Women in Policing Award.

May 22, 2018
By Joe Shine

Police Constable Tina Newman, of Avon and Somerset Constabulary, was awarded the prestigious honour at the 2018 Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) conference on Tuesday (May 22).

The officer has been heavily involved in several regional and national consultations and initiatives, including the Home Office consultation on the legislation used to manage prostitution.

Twenty years ago, women had no confidence in the police service as their vulnerabilities were misunderstood and misinterpreted, according to the PFEW.

PC Newman built trust by engaging with local community groups and soon became a role model for her colleagues

Before Independent Sexual Violence Advisers were introduced, PC Newman helped women through the initial report of rape and court appearances, which helped to secure conviction against dangerous offenders.

She also organised two operations that have tackled both on-street and off-street prostitution and has been instrumental in a regular inter-agency perpetrator programme with a 93 per cent success rate.

Sam Roberts, the National Women’s Reserve Chair for the PFEW, said: “It was tough to have to choose a winner because all nominees have achieved so much, but Tina’s story stood about because the panel felt she had gone above and beyond what would be expected of a police constable. She works within a very difficult and sensitive field of policing.

“She is able to give a voice to those who are often overlooked. I congratulate her on winning this award and thank her for all her contribution to policing.”

On receiving her award, PC Newman added: “My role has enabled me to support some incredible women when they have had to endure giving evidence in crown court, having been subjected to horrific sexual assaults.

“We help women know that they can trust the police, but also know that society will not tolerate such violence against them.

“Recognising the importance of raising awareness of the issues sex workers endure, I have been able to provide training to new recruits, colleagues and partner agencies. I hope the training gives people a better understanding and tolerance towards individuals.

“I am proud to have ‘played my part’ in the changes Avon and Somerset Constabulary have made to how we now police ‘on street’ prostitution in Bristol. The organisation now recognises sex workers’ vulnerability and that they are victims. “The standard practise of arresting women who loiter has stopped and there is a much better understanding of all aspects of this activity and of all those involved and impacted upon.”

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