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Outstanding policing recognised in President's awards

Superintendents from across the country have been celebrated and recognised for their outstanding policing at this year’s Police Superintendents’ Association President’s Awards.

The winners have received their awards for work in investigative excellence, championing diversity issues, leading strategic change and for outstanding long service.

The awards, sponsored by Police Mutual, are presented at the Association’s annual conference, this year held in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Judged by the President and Vice President of the Association, they recognise the achievements of Superintendents and Chief Superintendents and the contribution they make to policing, to their colleagues and to the public.

This year’s winners are:

  • Lifetime Achievement – Chief Superintendent Mark Lay, Bedfordshire Police
Mark was presented with the award in recognition of more than 30 years of service, in which he has gained extensive experience in a range of policing areas, working as a detective in every rank up to and including Chief Superintendent.

Mark has worked both nationally and internationally in covert policing roles and was instrumental in the development of the Eastern Regional Organised Crime Unit, spending six years leading the investigation of organised crime across regional and national boundaries.

As Chief Superintendent Mark has undertaken numerous roles within Bedfordshire and across the region including Head of Crime, Intelligence, CT and ROCU before promotion to a temporary appointment as ACC in 2018. Key achievements that stand out in his varied career include his role in the review of 1653 historic rape offences across the Eastern region, and providing SIO support to the Gosport Independent Panel, which re-examined more than 450 deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital in Hampshire. 

  • Leadership – Detective Chief Superintendent Julie Wvendth, Norfolk Constabulary
Julie, who serves as Head of Joint Justice Services for Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies, was presented with the award in recognition of the support and encouragement she has provided to colleagues, whilst also managing complex strategic issues for both forces.

She has led projects aimed at improving the support to the most vulnerable in the community, including the development of the Constabulary’s response to the growing issue of child sexual exploitation. 

  • Excellence in Policing – Detective Chief Superintendent Nicholas Wallen, West Yorkshire Police
Nicholas, who currently commands West Yorkshire Police’s Protective Services Crime Department, received the award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to investigative practice. As a Senior Investigating Officer, he has led many complex and high-profile investigations, including that following the tragic murder of Jo Cox MP; the identification and international man hunt of a Slovakian rapist; and the investigation into the murder of Ann Maguire, a school teacher from Leeds.

Nick’s experience is such that his skills were sought by members of the Grenfell fire investigation team who sought his advice to inform the investigation. Nick is a leading member of the National Police Chief Council’s Homicide Working Group and is a trained hostage and crisis negotiator. 

  • Valuing Difference Superintendent Andy Bennett, Avon and Somerset Police
Andy, who serves as the Neighbourhood and Partnerships Commander for Bristol, received the award in recognition of his work to develop and introduce the force’s Hate Crime Strategy and his work to build relationships with communities across the region.

His ability to earn trust from communities has enabled groundbreaking projects to take place, building key links between police and community groups. Many of Andy’s projects are the first of their kind in the UK and aim to help police officers better understand and support communities of all backgrounds. 

Chief Superintendent Paul Griffiths, President of the Association, who presented the awards, said:

“I have been part of the PSA annual conference for many years and have always been humbled by the stories we hear about our colleagues who receive these awards.

“It is my great honour to be presenting these awards as President this year, and I hope they go a small way towards conveying our respect and gratitude to these officers who have delivered such outstanding work.

“Our members are dedicated and passionate about policing and we are extremely proud of the difference they are making to communities and to the wider Police Service.”

Chief Executive of Police Mutual, John Perks said: “Police Mutual is proud to be sponsoring the President’s Awards once again.

“These awards highlight the dedication and professionalism shown by Superintendents across the country in supporting their colleagues and helping to keep the public safe.

“Police Mutual is honoured to be able to show our gratitude. Many congratulations to all of the winners and nominees”.