Scottish Police Officers Celebrate Awards

22 January 2016, 17:44 | Updated: 22 January 2016, 17:46

A police sergeant whose work helped tackle the sale of so-called legal highs and a special constable with 16 years' service in one of the country's most rural beats were among those honoured in a new awards ceremony.

Sergeant Neil Wilson, of Edinburgh, and Neil Morrison, from Mull, have been honoured at the inaugural Scottish Policing Excellence Awards.

Others recognised for their contribution included the force's youth volunteers and a community policing team from Lanarkshire whose work achieved a reduction in the sale of alcohol to under-age drinkers.

Police Scotland's new Chief Constable Phil Gormley said: "It was an honour and privilege to meet both the winners and nominees.

"The sheer breadth and scope of work being undertaken by officers and staff across Scotland, around the clock, with one focus - the safety of our communities - is truly inspiring.''

The ceremony took place at the Police Scotland College in Tulliallan, Clackmannanshire, and recognised achievements and innovation across 12 categories.

Leading the way was Sergeant Wilson, of E Division, who was named police officer of the year.

He was said to have made a sterling contribution to tackling the sale and impact of new psychoactive substances (NPS), also known as legal highs.

His results include securing the first forfeiture order in Scotland for NPS and he also helped achieve the granting of a temporary drugs class order for one substance, methylphenidate.

Mr Morrison, of L Division, was given the title of special constable of the year. He has served the community of Mull for 16 years and attended more than 40 call-outs last year.

Due to the remote location of his beat, he has taken charge of a range of incidents, including fatal road and marine accidents, mountain rescues and anti-social behaviour.

Probationer of the year was named as Lanarkshire's Pc Taylor Johnston while interventions co-ordinator Laura Fisher from N Division (Highlands and Islands) was rewarded for her work to eradicate doorstep crime.

The Chief Constable's award was presented to the Police Scotland Youth Volunteers (PSYV), who won the team of the year award.

The scheme was set up in 2014 to encourage young people to participate in their communities while engaging positively with the police.

PSYV members now number more than 550 across the country and have helped at more than 200 events, including the Commonwealth Games and The Open.

Ayrshire-based Constable Jason Peter got a special recognition for his creativity and innovation in using social media while the force's Polish language Facebook page scooped the equality award.

Officers in the community policing teams in Motherwell and Wishaw, Lanarkshire, were given a gong for their project to tackle the supply of alcohol to young people.

E Division's meet the police project was recognised for its work with the children of prisoners at HMP Edinburgh.

Rounding off the list, Pc Christine Bonas, of the operational support division, was named the unsung hero of the year and the service improvement award went to the performance support team in the Lothians and Borders.

Mr Gormley, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, Scottish Police Authority chair Andrew Flanagan and Ian Cordwell of event sponsors Police Mutual presented the winners with their awards.