The 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 law enforcement agencies and the community who work together to improve the opportunities and services provided to women within our communities. Each year ACWAP presents a number of awards for excellence in law enforcement. 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’s 24th Excellence in Policing Awards was held on Monday 18th September in Auckland, New Zealand, in conjunction with the International Women in Policing Conference (IWPC), co-hosted by the International Association of Women in Police (IAWP), ACWAP and New Zealand Police.
The following Awards were presented:
The Audrey Fagan Memorial Award, sponsored by the Australian Federal Police, honours the memory of Assistant Commissioner Audrey Fagan APM who was the ACT’s Chief Police Officer at the time of her death on the 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 the nominees across all Award categories. This year the Award was presented to Jacinta Pannowitz, Queensland Police Service. Jacinta is a leader within her community and as a victim-survivor of domestic and family violence, Jacinta is a committed mentor to others, is highly regarded by her colleagues and has actively contributed to influencing cultural change within the Queensland Police Service with respect to coercive control. She is the epitome of outstanding influence, resilience, advocacy and compassion. As an outstanding role model for women in policing and a poweful advocate for women in the community, Jacinta was also awarded the Most Outstanding Female Leader Award, sponsored by New Zealand Police. This award recognises a member who demonstrates dynamic and innovative leadership, mentored and guided others and contributed significantly to their field.
The Bev Lawson Memorial Award sponsored by FC 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 a former Deputy Commissioner of the New South Wales Police Force was Australia’s most senior woman in policing until her untimely death in 1998. This year the Award was presented to Cecilia Vine, Queensland Police Service. Cecilia has dedicated her service as a commissioned officer to uplifting, mentoring and guiding both men and women throughout the organisation to achieve their career goals, empower others and reinforce the wellbeing of staff as a priority. Cecilia is recognized as a trail blazer, mentor and dedicated advocate for destigmatising psychological injury and promoting wellbeing and demonstrating authentic leadership with a support of women a priority.
The Champion of Change Award is sponsored by Queensland Police Service. This award acknowledges men’s individual and/or collective influence and commitment to improving policing for women. It also acknowledges the importance of men’s role in increasing women’s representation in leadership within policing and how policing is delivered to women in the community. Areas of particular focus are how the Champion has achieved a real change in workplace culture and mindset and empowered both women and men within law enforcement to advance gender equality and improve policing for women. This year the award was presented to Adam Hunt, New South Wales Police Force. Adam’s passion, perseverance and tenacity in advocating for women has led to the development and inclusion of women for the first time in the New South Wales Police AFL team. Adam achieved this while simultaneously advancing gender equity and the empowerment of women through leadership programmes, mentorship and his persistent inclusion of women in all aspects of policing.
Robson Iavro, Vanuatu Police Force was recognised with a Highly Commended Award in this category.
The Integrity and Courage Award is sponsored by QBank and acknowledges the courage required to make the community and law enforcement better for everyone. It is an opportunity to recognise more than just physical bravery but seeks to recognise the courage and integrity 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. It includes resolving conflict or situations that require challenging established beliefs or practices and protecting others who are negatively affected by unlawful, dangerous discriminatory or unethical practices or events. This year the award was presented to Hannah Drake, New Zealand Police. Hannah has a unique ability to utilise her own personal challenges to motivate others to reach their goals. She has been a voice for those who suffer in silence, speaking out and exposing the barriers that inhibit equity and equality and has bravely shared her vulnerability to challenge assumptions and encourage new ways of doing things.
The Most Outstanding Female Investigator Award is sponsored by Queensland Police Union of Employees and this year the award was presented to Simone Van Der Sluys, Western Australia Police Force. Simone is recognised as an outstanding and highly experienced investigator whose dedication and commitment contributed to the successful prosecution of a former serving police officer resulting in him receiving the highest term of imprisonment ever handed down for sexual offending in Western Australia.
The Most Outstanding Female Administrator Award is sponsored by Australian Border Force and was awarded to Christine Agius, New South Wales Police Force. Christine has been the driver of equity and diversity for New South Wales Police Force for nine years. Her commitment and genuine passion to build a diverse and inclusive culture that reflects, respects and values the perspectives and participation of all New South Wales Police Force employees, has ensured everyone has access to equal opportunities.
The Most Outstanding Female Practitioner Award is sponsored by Police Association of New South Wales and this year was awarded to Susan Lock, South Australia Police. Susan’s commitment to implementing changes within the criminal justice system has been a beacon of hope for countless individuals, and in particular women. She has worked tirelessly to provide a voice for those who have been silenced, empowering survivors to break the cycle of abuse and rebuild their lives.
Pauline Williams, Victoria Police was recognised with a Highly Commended Award in this category.
The Most Outstanding Female Intelligence Practitioner Award is sponsored by the Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers and this year was awarded to Christie Wallace-Kunkel, New South Wales Police Force. Christie is a tireless and committed advocate for the advancement of intelligence in law enforcement and is a supportive leader of women in intelligence and policing. Christie has delivered genuine benefits to the New South Wales Police Force through improving understanding and outcomes for victims of domestic violence and sexual violence.
The Emerging Leadership Award is sponsored by the Australian Institute of Police Management and is awarded to Sasha Harding with the New South Wales Police Force. Throughout her 25 years in policing Sasha has effected the change and improved the quality of countless lives extending from victims and families she has helped, to the staff she has worked alongside and led. She is recognised as a dynamic and inspiring female leader who champions inclusion and diversity, exemplifies courage and resilience, while successfully manages and leads a critically important unit within the New South Wales Police Force.
Tia Pirihi, Victoria Police was recognised with a Highly Commended Award in this category.
The Excellence in Law Enforcement Initiative for Women in the Community Award is sponsored by TripleZero Property Group and this year was awarded to the Sexual Offence and Family Violence Unit, Victoria Police. The Sexual Offence and Family Violence Unit is the first unit of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere in its provision of a unique victim-centric specialist response to family violence and sexual offences committed by employees of Victoria Police. The Unit strives to build community trust by holding police employees to account.
The Queensland Police Service Domestic and Family Violence Training Team and New South Wales Police Force Sexual Violence Project were also recognised with Highly Commended Awards in this category.
The Excellence in Law Enforcement in the Pacific Region Award is sponsored by the Pacific Faculty of Policing and this year was awarded to Ema Veiqali, Fiji Police Force. Ema is a strong committed advocate and a human rights activist for women and children. Ema is committed to providing women and children an environment where they can seek assistance and support without fear of negative consequences and realise their rights through meaningful access to justice.
The Excellence in Research on Improving Law Enforcement for Women Award is sponsored by the Australia & New Zealand Society of Evidence Based Policing and this year was awarded to Dr Jennifer Raymond, New South Wales Police Force. Jennifer’s outstanding leadership and commitment were crucial in operationalising emerging forensic genetic genealogy capabilities that provide closure and improved outcomes for victim survivors of sexual assault, victims of homicide and families of long-term missing persons.
The Griffith University Women in Policing Scholarship was awarded to Emily Clarke, Queensland Police Service. Through her studies in the Graduate Certificate in Autism Studies Emily hopes to better understand neurodivergence and how it relates to both victims of sexual offending, as well as offenders, to adopt an evidence-based approach to crime prevention and disruption.
Congratulations to all the award winners.
If you require any further information with regard to these awards please contact Debbie Platz Debbie.Platz@ses.nsw.gov.au or by mobile 0402 133 009.