2015 Awards for Excellence in Policing – Australasian Council of Women and Policing

Australasian Council of Women and Policing (ACWAP) has been participating in the global network of women in policing since it was established in August 1997. It consists of women and men within police services and the community who work together to improve the opportunities and services provided to women within policing of our communities.  Each year ACWAP presents a number of awards for excellence in policing.  The Awards for Excellence in Policing are an opportunity to publicly acknowledge and reward the achievements of women and men who are contributing to improving policing and law enforcement and ensuring policing services are enhanced for women.

This year is the 17th Awards ceremony and is being held in conjunction with the 9th ACWAP Conference being hosted by ACWAP and the New South Wales Police Force from 31st August to 3 September 2015.

On Tuesday 1 September at Luna Park, Sydney the Awards were presented:

The Bev Lawson Memorial Award sponsored by Ferguson Cannon Lawyers is the Council’s most prestigious award and recognises the most outstanding woman who has been first in any policing or law enforcement activity or support service. The Award is in honour of the ground-breaking achievements of Bev Lawson, who as Deputy Commissioner of the NSW Police was Australia’s most senior woman in policing until her untimely death in 1998. Sergeant Michelle Dench has excelled in an area of policing where very few women are employed.  She has led the way for female members in challenging themselves to be astute dog handlers and make an important contribution to operations response and investigation.  She has mentored, coached and trained numerous police members in their quest to become a dog handler and is well regarded across Australasia for her skills in this critical area of policing which culminated in her deemed the best dog handler in Australia at the general duties dog trials held in 2013.

The Audrey Fagan Award, sponsored by the Australian Federal Police honours the memory of Audrey’s untimely and tragic death on 20 April 2007. The Audrey Fagan Memorial Award recognises outstanding women who have shown exceptional qualities as a mentor, role model and leader of men and women in policing and law enforcement and is chosen by a selection panel from all of this year’s nominees. This year it was presented to former Assistant Commissioner Katarina Carroll, Queensland Police Service whoseleadership was both outstanding and inspirational as QPS Program Executive, G20 Group with the successful completion of “Operation Southern Cross” security operation.  Known for her integrity, respect and utmost professionalism along with her mantra of “Failure is not an option”, she provides an exceptional example of the achievements of women in the Queensland Police Service as a role model, mentor and advisor to the women who follow in her wake.

The Champion of Change Award sponsored by the New South Wales Police Force. This award acknowledges men’sindividual and/or collective influence and commitment to improving policing for women. Italso acknowledges the importance of men’s role in increasing women’s representation inleadership within policing and how policing is delivered to women in the community. Areasof particular focus are how the Champion has achieved a real change in workplace cultureand mindset and empowered both women and men within law enforcement to advancegender equality and improve policing for women. This year’s Champion of Change isawarded to Retired Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay who has raised national awareness on the scourge of violence against women, driven improved police and community responses to preventative violence programs and initiated a ‘game changing’ independent review of discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual predatory behaviour in Victoria Police that will undoubtedly improve workplace safety for women in policing throughout common law policing countries.

Bravery Award sponsored by the Queensland Police Credit Union acknowledges the bravery required to make the community and policing better for everyone.  It is an opportunity to recognise more than just physical bravery, but seeks to recognise the bravery of the circumstances where someone has the time to think about the implications of their actions and the impact those actions will have on their career, their family and themselves. This year the award is presented to Dr. Sarah Benson, Australian Federal Police.  Over Sarah’s distinguished 15 year career has used her established international expertise to positively impact numerous priority operations, enhance forensic science capabilities in Australian and overseas, and lead and mentor those around her.

The Most Outstanding Female Leader sponsored by BankVic is awarded to a member who demonstrates dynamic and innovative leadership, mentored and guided others and contributed significantly to their field.  This year Senior Sergeant Anita Dixon was awarded this category for her outstanding leadership within the New Zealand Police.  A positive leader who has transformed the culture, lifted service delivery, leads by example and cares deeply about the welfare of the community and police staff in the Kapiti policing sub-area.  Superintendent Joanne McCabe, Western Australia Police was recognised as a highly commended award in this category.

The Most Outstanding Female Investigator sponsored by Queensland Police Union of Employees is awarded to Federal Agent Kirsty Schofield, Australian Federal Police. Kirsty is a natural leader, currently leading teams in counter terrorism, applying her significant education and experience in supporting women in policing and improving the way the organisation conducts business. She is an outstanding, innovative investigator who is passionate about her work, and significantly enhances the profile and professionalism of women in policing.

The Most Outstanding Female Administrator sponsored by the Countrywide Austral is awarded to Superintendent Deb Abbott, a ‘go-to’ police leader who has consistently delivered major change projects and initiatives for Victoria Police.  Deb has ensured improvements for women in policing including promotional pathways programs that have delivered increased numbers of women to supervisory and management roles.  Ms Theresa Banks, Victoria Police was recognised with the awarding of a highly commended in this category.

The Most Outstanding Female Practitioner sponsored by Crimsafe Security System was awarded to Ms Carmel Arthur, Victoria Police. Carmel’s sphere of influence and achievements as a Victoria Police member are significant. Carmel’s reach goes beyond the workgroups of the organisation to the external stakeholders and communities. Carmel has been a champion of Victoria Police’s future thinking ‘Blue Paper’ and she has mentored other women in the art of influence. Sergeant Doneena Henry, Queensland Police Service was recognised with a highly commended award in this category.

Excellence in Policing for Women Initiative sponsored by Tait Communications was awarded to Senior Sergeant Leonie Fordyce.  Over the past six years the nominee, Senior Sergeant Fordyce, has led the Queensland Police Service through significant reform of the domestic and family violence (DFV) policing response, delivering streamlined and enhanced police processes and powers; ensuring victims are effectively protected from future violence; and that perpetrators of DFV are held to account for their violence.  Matthew Herring and Renee Van Den Heuvel, Queensland Police Service were recognised with a highly commended award in this category.

The Excellence in Policing in the Asia Pacific Region, sponsored by the Queensland Police Service was awarded to Sergeant Filipa Lini, Vanuatu Police Force.  Filipa is known as an outstanding leader, a mother of four children and a role model. She continues to influence and commit herself in representing women in local and Pacific communities and also empowers gender within law enforcement to advance equality and improving policing for women in the Pacific region by teaching others through various workshops and leading as an example with her innovated ways.  Kaboiti Aretateta, Kiribati Police and Prison Services was recognized with a highly commended award in this category.

This year the judging panel were so impressed with one of the nominees they decided to present an Encouragement Award, which Griffith University kindly agreed to sponsor.  Ms Helen Toves, Guam Police Department has for over 10 years and without promotion, fair compensation and little to no recognition, remained committed and dedicated to improve the Guam Police Department’s policing capabilities through continuing IT upgrades

and training of police personnel- twenty four hours a day seven days a week- acquiring Modern Policing techniques in consideration of environmental impact factors through the use of technology.  The juding panel deemed Ms Toves a worthy recipient for an award in recognition of her dedication to policing.

If you require any further information with regard to these awards please contact Debbie Platz on Platz.DeborahJ@police.qld.gov.au or 0402133009