Awards praise Rotherham police for ‘going beyond the call of duty’

Rotherham District Police Awards evening
Rotherham District Police Awards evening
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Rotherham District Police Awards saw more than 10 officers recognised for going ‘beyond the call of duty’.

The District Commander’s Lifetime Achievement Award went to PC Shaun Rhodes, who has served in the police for 28 years.

The key scheme held up for celebration was efforts to tackle football-related violence. Other awards included a nod for a special constable who single-handedly apprehended a man wielding a machete and a youth community group which put on events to bring the community together.

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings, who criticised the decision to put details of the awards on Facebook, said the mood of the event was sombre.

He added: “Child sexual exploitation was referred to a number of times during the evening. On the other hand, a totally demoralised workforce is not a good idea and I can see why they wanted to reward good work.

“It did take into account they were in a bad place or coming from a bad place and there was a lot to be done.”

He added: “What was said was that they have to face up to the fact there have been these criticisms of the force. There must be no denial. I came into office on November 3 and since then I have added staff to strengthen the unit that looks at CSE.

“What concerns me is that many of the victims are still saying ‘the police don’t fully understand our position as victims and survivors’.

“I don’t want to mislead the public into saying I think everything has suddenly changed for the better.

“In terms of attitude, it is changing. In terms of training, it is getting better.”

Chief Superintendent Jason Harwin said: “Rotherham District Awards highlighted the exceptional work of officers, staff, volunteers and members of the community who have played a significant role in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.

“We acknowledge the awards must not take away from the fact that we need to do more around Child Sexual Exploitation, which was discussed on the night. We recognise people must be held to account and we are fully co-operating with the ongoing investigations by the NCA and IPCC. However, we also need to recognise when people do a good job and promote the exceptional work that takes place every day.

“Rotherham deserves the best and the award winners are examples of people striving to achieve this while remaining sensitive to challenges faced by the force.”

Other winners included two young people who attended an ID parade to secure a prosecution and volunteers at Eastwood Youth Centre who organised community activities to improve cohesion.

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