Top award for community policing team

Inspector Phil Shepherd, left, receives E District's Neighbourhood Team of the Year award from E District Commander, Chief Superintendent Alasdair Robinson. INPT40-001
Inspector Phil Shepherd, left, receives E District's Neighbourhood Team of the Year award from E District Commander, Chief Superintendent Alasdair Robinson. INPT40-001

WORK with the local community has won Portadown Neighbourhood Policing Team first place in its category at the local policing awards.

The team, which has one inspector, one sergeant and nine constables, was nominated by the public for its work in tackling local issues.

It now goes forward to the province-wide finals in Belfast where it will compete for the title of Neighbourhood Policing Team of the Year.

Invited guests and police from across E District - Craigavon, Armagh, Banbridge and Newry and Mourne - attended last week’s Policing With the Community Awards.

The awards scheme, now in its ninth year, recognises the outstanding work of officers and staff in eight different categories.

A citation said the Portadown team had “excelled in the delivery of personal, profession and protective policing”.

It added, “As a result of the team’s efforts, confidence in policing has greatly improved and anti-social behaviour and fear of crime has reduced. The team have worked with the local community to help tackle local issues and ‘policing with the community’ has been at the centre of this with a significant increase in the number of Neighbourhood Watch Groups now operational in the area.”

Yvonne Sterrritt, a member of the local Policing and Community Safety partnership (PCSP), who attended the awards ceremony, said the award was very well deserved. She said, “The team have been involved in work across areas such as Garvaghy Road, Brownstown and Scotch Street, and has been closely involved in the cross-community BOSS project for young people.

“The Chief Constable Matt Baggott recently visited the Garvaghy Road and at the awards ceremony a message from Mr Baggott was read out, saying how impressed he was with policing in the area, the neighbourhood team and with the ‘massive strides forward’ in relations with police in the area.”

The Problem Solving Award was won by Gilford Neighbourhood Policing Team for their work in developing an intervention scheme for young people in the Lawrencetown area following significant reporting of antisocial and sectarian behaviour. The Diversity in Action Award went to Lurgan Neighbourhood Policing Team for the Youth Engagement Partnership (YEP). This is an initiative to target hard-to-reach and marginalised young people who are involved in or in danger of becoming involved in antisocial behaviour and criminality in Craigavon Borough.

Constable Stewart Finn of South Down Neighbourhood Policing Team was awarded the Personal Policing Service Award, while Constable O’Neill in the Public Protection Unit took the Protective Policing Service Award for his work in helping to protect the most vulnerable in our community from the potential harm of sexual and violent offending.

Constable Michael Allen, Lurgan Neighbourhood Policing Team, was nominated by the public as E District’s Police Officer of the Year (nominated by the public). He has developed a number of innovative initiatives that have both helped to address community concerns and build confidence in policing.

All category winners will now represent the district at the Policing with the Community Awards in Belfast.

District Commander, Chief Superintendent Alasdair Robinson said, “Police in E District have always been proud of the work they do and these awards show why. Officers and staff across the district are going that extra mile to provide a better and more personal service to the local community.”

Sam Cordner, service delivery superintendent, said, “So often our officers deal with the most difficult and challenging aspects of society and it is right that we should take the time to stop and take stock of the difference they are making in communities across Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon and Newry and Mourne.”