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Covid response chief one of two Somerset officers to receive New Year Honour

TWO Avon and Somerset police officers appear in the New Year Honours list.

Superintendent for Bristol Andy Bennett and Assistant Chief Constable Nikki Watson have both been awarded the Queen’s Police Medal (QPM).

The QPM is awarded to police officers for distinguished service or gallantry. Officers are nominated through Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Police and Fire & Rescue Services or the National Police Chiefs’ Council, dependant on their rank.

Supt Bennett is recognised for his work tackling hate crime and bringing policing and communities closer.

He said: “I am humbled to receive this award, particularly at a time when so many are working tirelessly to help others during the pandemic. I also want to recognise those members of the community who have been prepared to take a step forward, to talk to us and help to break down barriers so we can move towards our goal of truly representing the diverse citizens of Bristol.”

ACC Watson (pictured) is recognised for leading the Avon and Somerset policing response to the COVID-19 health crisis.

She said: “I always wanted to make a difference and it is an honour to serve the communities of Avon and Somerset.

“To receive the QPM for following my vocation makes me feel extremely grateful and proud. There are many others whose dedication and support have been key to how we have coped with policing during this pandemic, not least our communities who have given up so much to follow the regulations and guidance. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you.”

ACC Watson joined Avon and Somerset Police in 1987. In more than 30 years’ service she has pounded the beat in uniform, worked as a detective in the CID and commanded the East Somerset police area.

Her career has included developing, in partnership with the Director of Public Prosecutions, a pilot programme to tackle domestic abuse using, when appropriate, out of court disposals aimed at addressing perpetrators’ behaviour at an early stage.

ACC Watson has also worked to improve access to drug treatment for offenders as well as liaising with the wider criminal justice system to improve joint working and deliver swifter justice.

She’s the Avon and Somerset lead for gender, helping the service to create an environment where women can develop and thrive. This role has seen her supporting a campaign to demystify the effects of the menopause in the workplace, with more than 400 officers and staff members now trained to provide support to colleagues.

As an assistant chief constable her current responsibilities include overseeing the constabulary’s investigations and operations and chairing the Local Resilience Forum which brings different agencies and organisations together to plan and prepare for civil contingencies and major incidents.



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