WMPeople: Akeel Akhtar – Student Officer of the Year

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Police Constable Akeel Akhtar – who joined West Midlands Police in 2020 via Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme – won Student Officer of the Year in the force’s annual Diamond Awards, for his work to reduce under-25 youth violence in Bordesley Green.

Five additional West Midlands Police officers who are currently on the National Graduate Leadership Programme  and one officer on the National Detective Programme were also nominated in the awards – including PC Chris Mooney, who helped uncover and investigate a serious organised criminal network and drug line, and DC Edward Winter, who was the investigating officer in a serious disorder incident in the city and manged to place eight offenders behind bars.

The Diamond Awards recognise officers, staff and members of the public who have gone above and beyond to make the West Midlands a safer place.

The awards ceremony took place on Thursday 30th June and was hosted by radio and television presenter Joanne Malin. Over 350 guests were in attendance including Chief Constable Sir David Thompson QPM DL LLB, senior colleagues from across the force and the shortlisted officers.

The nominees:

PC Akeel Akhtar, who won Student Officer of the Year in West Midlands Police’s Diamond Awards

PC Akeel Akhtar won Student Officer of the Year for successfully reducing under-25 youth violence in Bordesley Green. He also recently received a Birmingham East Commander’s Award for his work.

He has not only helped place several dangerous nominals behind bars – including a number of people responsible for an attempted murder in Birmingham – but he has also worked proactively to prevent young people in the community getting caught up in gang violence and drug crime. PC Akhtar has built links with religious establishments and local schools to identify those at risk, and worked with policing colleagues and youth centres in the community to divert individuals away from the cycle of crime.

With support from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office, PC Akhtar was also instrumental in getting a weapon surrender bin installed in the neighbourhood, which has seen 65 weapons surrendered over the past year and has helped make the streets of Bordesley safer.

Also nominated were:

Trainee Detective Constable Edward Winter

Trainee DC Edward Winter was nominated and shortlisted for the award, for successfully acting as the investigating officer in a serious disorder involving rival street gangs in Birmingham City Centre. The violent incident occurred in a popular bar and involved knives and weapons. Ed searched extensively through CCTV footage from the area of attack and wider surroundings and was able to identify eight gang members involved.

With support from his force colleagues, the offenders were located, arrested and interviewed.  Thanks to Ed’s tenacity, professionalism and hard work all eight pleaded guilty and received prison sentences.

Police Constable Chris Mooney

PC Chris Mooney was nominated for his work to uncover and investigate a serious organised criminal network, and for his work on Operation Wellington.

PC Mooney pursued and arrested a drug dealer, which resulted in uncovering a sophisticated and serious organised criminal network and drug line in the UK that was reported to be generating millions of pounds per year. The gang crimes extended to importing and dealing drugs, modern slavery, gang violence and use of firearms.

PC Mooney led a large-scale operation to make arrests, conduct searches, submit hundreds of intelligence reports, and collaborate with Regional Organised Crime Units, Counter Terrorism Units, Border Force, the Airport Police Unit and West Midlands Police colleagues, to arrest gang leaders and continue to investigate those involved.

PC Mooney was also nominated for his use of early intervention tactics to prevent first-time offenders from reoffending, as part of Operation Wellington. He has been working with partner agencies to issue warnings and provide extra support to members of the community who commit low-level criminality or anti-social behaviour, to prevent people from falling into the cycle of crime.

Police Constable Charlotte Brown 

PC Charlotte Brown was nominated for the award due to her dedication and enthusiasm to neighbourhood policing and her success in tackling anti-social behaviour.

Based in West Bromwich, PC Brown has supported and led the team to resolve several long-term issues in the neighbourhood and has worked hard to build stronger relationships with internal and external partner agencies.

Sergeant Paul Bishop, who nominated PC Brown for the award, said: “I often forget that Charlotte has less than two years’ service and continually remind her that she should take her promotion exam as soon as possible. She has successfully secured Criminal Behaviour Orders against several persistent offenders, which restrict offenders’ access to certain areas of the neighbourhood and include prohibitions to prevent anti-social behaviour.”

Police Constable Safyaan Javid 

PC Safyaan Javid was nominated for his proactive approach to neighbourhood policing and his personal resilience, working hard to overcome barriers as an officer with a speech impediment on the policing frontline.

During his time on the Police Now programme, he has utilised his four languages (English, Mirpuri, Urdu and Hindi) to support victims of crime and build community relations. He has led on an operation to reduce anti-social behaviour in Sparkhill and visited local schools to engage with young people in the community. He has also become the Faith Forum lead in Birmingham East, working alongside senior policing staff and faith leaders to secure funding and organise public initiatives, such as creating a safe space to support victims of crime or domestic violence in the Asian community.

Police Constable Abigail Hill – Police Officer of the Year

PC Abbie Hill was nominated in the awards for the second year in a row, for her work to safeguard and support victims of domestic abuse and her contribution to the Operation Unite pilot. She also recently received a Birmingham East Commander’s Award for her work.

Based in Bordesley Green, PC Hill has become the domestic abuse lead for the local Neighbourhood Policing Team. She has been successful in engaging with victims who have historically resisted working with the police, through building trust and rapport with members of the community.

She has worked alongside her colleagues to develop Operation Unite, which brings together teams from across the force to safeguard victims of domestic abuse, and locally manage and bring to justice high-risk domestic offenders. Following the launch of the operation there was a 79% reduction in repeat offences made by individuals dealt with through Operation Unite, between January – April last year.

Police Constable Amy Plant –Investigator of the Year

PC Amy Plant was nominated for her work on the Brownhills Neighbourhood Team in Walsall, where she worked tirelessly to apprehend a prolific offender who had been causing distress to an entire street of residents with his persistent anti-social behaviour.

The matter involved multiple crimes and victims, with PC Plant providing consistent contact and support and building positive and long-lasting relationships between the police and the community.

PC Plant took over 20 witness statements from residents and victims on the street, recording seven offences and interviewing the suspect before making an arrest. She worked alongside mental health services to obtain two mental health warrants and provide required support, before carrying out multi-agency work with the council to have an anti-social behaviour injunction granted by the civil courts.

 

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Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme and National Detective Programme are structured, two-year programmes which recruit, train and develop inspiring individuals to be neighbourhood police officers or detective constables in forces across the country.