Award for two Cumbria Police officers at national event

The work of two Cumbria Police officers has been highlighted nationally at an event recognising efforts to tackle violence against women and girls.

Detective Inspector Matt Belshaw and Detective Constable Susanne Hayward received an award for improving culture and conduct internally within policing.

The practices they put in place at Cumbria Police will now be used by other forces to improve their own approaches.

Last year DI Belshaw was appointed to a specialist operational post covering the subject of violence against women and girls.

He represented the constabulary at the recognition event in London, held for the first time by the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) and College of Policing.

DI Belshaw received the North West regional award from Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth, the NPCC’s violence against women and girls’ coordinator.

DI Belshaw said: “Receiving this award means a lot to me personally, because it affirms that the work I am doing within Cumbria Police is improving the culture of our police service and the conduct of our officers.

“This award specifically relates to work with our frontline officers, partner agencies and all supervisors regarding their understanding of the true meaning of violence against women and girls and what motivates these horrendous offences.

“A key issue in tackling this type of crime in general is recognising inappropriate behaviours and attitudes before they are allowed to escalate to criminal offences and in this I acknowledge that there may be times where officers must report on other officers.

“Building stronger links and lines of communication between frontline policing, our partners and our professional standards department is essential to address these issues.

“This award serves as testament that no stone is being left unturned and that the highest standards of conduct are set.

“Changing culture is not something that can happen overnight; but this award shows that the foundations already set ensure the highest standards in the north west region – and that the work is an example to all police forces across the country.”

DC Hayward works in the force’s professional standards department.

She said: “ I am proud of the work that DI Belshaw and I have collaborated on.

“During the 12 months that we have worked together we have noticed that student officers, experienced officers, police staff and partner agencies are actively engaged to the presentations that we have provided in relation to maintaining the professional standards of behaviour.

“We highlight that any member of the policing family must conduct themselves with integrity, on and off duty.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the North West panel for honouring our work with this prestigious award.”

The term violence against women and girls refers to acts of violence or abuse that are known to disproportionately affect women and girls.

Cumbria’s Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Mike Johnson, said: “I’m really pleased to see Cumbria Constabulary being recognised for tackling violence against women and girls, especially with a focus on looking in at the organisation itself, as well as externally.

“By understanding what motivates this type of crime and identifying the root cause, the constabulary, alongside partner agencies, can work towards reducing violence against women and girls and help to prevent it from happening in the first place.

“Trust must be at the heart of the relationship between the public and the constabulary.

“By providing the public with the transparency that we are looking to resolve issues within the organisation and educate our staff and partners on all aspects of violence against women and girls, I hope that we can continue to build on this trust so that women and girls feel comfortable in coming forward to report these crimes.

“Congratulations to DI Belshaw and DC Hayward on their award, I look forward to seeing this work continue to help make our county safer.”

The recognition event was developed and judged jointly by police forces and representatives from charities including SafeLives, Suzy Lamplugh Trust and Karma Nirvana, alongside the Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales, Nicole Jacobs, and police staff associations.

All winning entries had to demonstrate how they built trust and confidence, that their approach was victim-centred – and they had to show impact, including how they were pursuing perpetrators.

DCC Maggie Blyth, National Police Chiefs’ Council violence against women and girls’ coordinator, said: “Thank you to everyone who works in policing and whose focus is on making society safer for women and girls.”

(l to r) Detective Inspector Matt Belshaw and Detective Constable Susanne Hayward

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