Inspiring and humbling tales of bravery, creativity, selflessness and dedication were once again in abundance as the #TeamSWPAwards returned last night.
Held at Cardiff’s city Hall, the awards – which are usually held annually, but have been hosted twice this year due to postponement as the result of the pandemic – recognise officers, staff, volunteers and partners who have gone above and beyond the call of duty for the South Wales Police and the communities we serve.
This year’s winners – chosen by Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan and Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael – are:
Learner of the Year Award – DC Amy Farrar, who was among the first cohort of SWP’s #PoliceNow recruits. While juggling her studies she’s overseen complex investigations and secured convictions for offences including GBH, rape, robbery and blackmail.
Community Officer Shrievalty Award – PCSO Lisa Banfield, who is described as the “heart and soul” of Pontypridd town centre. As well as working with partners to tackle crime and ASB, and promote the town in a positive light, she also set up and secured funding for an ’emergency grab bag’ initiative which has proved hugely successful.
Extra Mile Award for Volunteers Award – Christopher McCue, who volunteered almost 500 hours in Cardiff and the Vale between May and December 2021, all while studying for a degree at the University of South Wales. “Determined and dedicated”, he was described as a role model to his fellow volunteers.
Police Youth Volunteer of the Year – Ethan Seymour and Jack Healy, from the Mid Glamorgan and Cardiff and Vale hubs respectively, were joint winners. Ethan was praised for helping to launch #OpSeaBird, conducting speeding exercises, and working at both the Elvis Festival and Porthcawl 10K events, while Jack is credited with encouraging new members, inspiring them with his “amazing energy and commitment.”
Exceptional Service to People Award – DC Sian Weyman of the Mid Glamorgan Rape Investigation Team. Her perseverance and diligence during a complex and challenging investigation in to non-recent child sexual abuse, secured justice for three vulnerable victims. The perpetrator was convicted in relation to one victim, before admitting his guilt in relation to two others, and is serving 16 years while awaiting further sentencing.
Impact Award – The Estates Capital Team, who delivered the state-of-the-art Police Learning Centre at SWP’s Bridgend headquarters. The team used high-quality, cost-effective materials and clever material retention to create a building that will train future generations of officers.
The Derrick Hassan Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Award – Deputy Chief Firearms Instructor, Sgt Sarra Kew, who’s worked tirelessly to improve female recruitment and retention, ensured kit is gender inclusive and set up a mentor scheme for new recruits. Her work has been recognised nationally and the unit – a collaborative department with Gwent and Dyfed Police forces – now boasts significantly more woman than the national average.
Exceptional Engagement Award – Sarah Davies from the Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner. Among her achievements is the creation of the Young Voices initiative, which has seen more than 2,000 people aged 11-25 – an often hard-to-reach demographic – engaging with us to share their experiences of crime and policing.
Police and Crime Commissioner Exceptional Problem Solving in Partnership Award – Joint winners, Gorseinon Neighbourhood Policing Team and the Gelligaled Skate Park Team. Gorseinon NPT are credited with strengthening partnerships and community links to all but eliminate ASB demand in the area, while the multi-agency skate park team worked with local youths to transform the Gelligaled skate park, using it to host community events and significantly reducing ASB.
South Wales Police Teamwork Award – The Public Service Centre (PSC) who, after demand reached record-breaking levels of demand post-Covid, worked tirelessly to reduce waiting times and continue to be there for society’s most vulnerable.
The Exceptional Leadership Award – The PSC’s Dawn Nyhan, who during her 36-year career has “oozed positivity and professionalism and is always on the lookout for an opportunity to make a difference.”
The Investigation of the Year Award – The Logan Mwangi murder investigation team, who painstakingly pieced together the sequence of events which led to the five-year-old’s harrowing death, and oversaw a lengthy, complex and distressing investigation to secure justice for the little boy and his loved ones. The team were said to have “illustrated the very best of South Wales Police and its people and upheld our core values of being proud, professional and positive.”
The Exceptional Bravery Award – PCSO Lloyd Bridgeman who risked his own safety when he jumped into the Cardiff Castle Moat to save a man who was trapped and drowning on a cold November night. His selfless actions without a doubt saved the man’s life.
Police Staff Lifetime Achievement Award – Poignantly, this award was posthumously given to Custody Detention Officer, the late Simon Gray, who died suddenly this year after dedicating 17 years to SWP and the communities of south Wales. Nominating his, his Sergeant said: “To Simon his role was not just a job, but a career dedicated to helping society’s most vulnerable, often at times of extreme lows or personal crisis. The custody suite needs patience, understanding and compassion – attributes he had in abundance.”
Police Officer Lifetime Achievement Award – Sgt Fiona Haggerty who, over 27 years, has worked in response, neighbourhood, custody, planning and Specialist Operations. She’s saved people from a burning flat and saved the life of a man in the back of a police van. Ahead of her retirement later this year, Inspector Mike Kings said: “If you are lucky, you may leave a mark on that one of business you specialised in. It is without exaggeration to say that Fiona has left her mark across the whole force. She is truly inspiring.”
Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan said:
“The Team SWP Awards are a real highlight for us, as they really do demonstrate the great and good that we have here serving the communities of south Wales.
“I’m always really humbled to hear the stories of all our finalists, many of whom have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their actions.
“Each and every one of our finalists is deserving of the recognition they received this evening, and on behalf of #TeamSWP, I’d like to once again thank them for the dedication, professionalism and unwavering commitment.”
South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, Alun Michael, added:
“It is always a huge privilege to be part of the South Wales Police Awards which recognise the incredible achievements of officers, staff and volunteers who each play their vital part to prevent harm and keep the communities of south Wales safe.
“Next month will be my tenth year as South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner and I can say that this annual event never fails to leave me inspired by acts of bravery, and displays of professionalism and dedication from people in many different roles.
“There are inspiring examples of early intervention and cooperation with other professions and agencies which would delight Sir Robert Peel who said that the prevention of crime is the first responsibility of the police.
“It gives me great confidence that we have an excellent team which is committed and capable of delivering safer communities across south Wales.”