A Queensland Police Service (QPS) Inspector has been awarded The Bev Lawson Memorial Award yesterday at the National Gallery, Melbourne, as part of the 18th Australasian Council of Women and Policing (ACWAP) Awards for Excellence in Policing.
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.
QPS Inspector Virginia Nelson from the Rockhampton district was awarded The Bev Lawson Memorial Award at the ceremony. This award is sponsored by Ferguson Cannon Lawyers and is the Council’s most prestigious award that recognises the most outstanding woman who has been first in any policing or law enforcement activity or support service.
Inspector Nelson was the first and sometimes only female commissioned officer in a rural region that covered more than 200,000 square kilometres. Inspector Nelson has also developed, implemented and delivered multiple first programs for women including, mentoring and development programs for emerging women leaders at all ranks.
Commissioner Ian Stewart said it was encouraging to see a QPS Inspector presented with such a prestigious award.
“Inspector Nelson has paved the way for QPS female officers to aspire and become commissioned officers in enormous rural regions,” Commissioner Stewart said.
“I would like to extend my congratulations and gratitude to Inspector Nelson on behalf of the Service.”
QPS Senior Sergeant Fiona Hayes was also recognised at the ceremony with a highly commended award in the Most Outstanding Female Practitioner category for her work as the Acting Officer in Charge of QPS Dog Squad. This award, which is sponsored by the Police Association of New South Wales, was presented to Sergeant Kareene Santoro, Western Australia Police for her commitment she has provided to policing through her reform of domestic violence victim support.
This year the judging panel also presented a Special Contribution Award to Commissioner Ian Stewart, Queensland Police Service, for his continued and unwavering support of ACWAP and women in law enforcement and the community.
“It was an honour to be presented this award. I will always support and encourage all of our talented female officers and the invaluable role they play in law enforcement agencies and in the community,” Commissioner Stewart said.
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 police services and the community who work together to improve the opportunities and services provided to women within policing.