Cairns hit the jackpot for the ACWAP Awards

Winners are grinners in the far north as the IWLEC shines in Cairns

The 2017 International Women and Law Enforcement Conference hosted in Cairns this week saw the International Association of Women Police (IWAP) and the Australasian Council of Women and Policing (ACWAP) Award winners announced on Monday.

Whilst IWAP Awards are for international officers, the ACWAP awards focus on the achievements of our law enforcement agencies in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Nations.

Delegates from around the world frocked up for the formal event and saw 144 nominations members nominated for the 2017 ACWAP Awards.

Six local women and one man represented the Far North with four taking out major awards on the night.

Superintendent Brad Eaton from the Australian Federal Police took home the Champion of Change Award.  This award recognises the significant role men play in improving law enforcement for women in Australia, New Zealand or the Pacific.

Brad created sustainable change for women across Australasia over the past 33-years leaving a legacy of gender equality at each workplace he has been.

Leading by example, building strong relationships based on credibility, trust, empathy and support he has empowered many female officers to be confident, take charge of their careers and reach for leadership positions and advocated for men to strongly support.

He has enabled confidence in others to become leaders, not followers.

The Inaugural Most Outstanding Female Intelligence Practitioner Award, sponsored by the Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers, was awarded to Intelligence Evaluator, Erryn Smith from the Australian Border Force in Cairns.

Ms Smith is known for her outstanding and inspirational ability and tenacity to make connections and identify criminality through small pieces of information which she builds into actionable intelligence resulting in ongoing significant results. She is a role model in the workplace, particularly for younger female officers and her professionalism, communication, exceptional abilities and positive ‘can do’ attitude is recognised by peers and managers both within the organisation and by external agencies.

Senior Constable Carmen Dalladay, formally stationed in the far north and now in Mount Isa, was nominated for the Inaugural Most Outstanding Female Intelligence Practitioner.

Carmen displayed intelligence resourcefulness and initiative in developing strategies to enhance the intelligence footprint in the Torres Straits and Cape Communities of Far North Queensland. Carmen was proactive in developing a vast array of networks which enhanced the information sharing capability with the Torres Straits between agencies allowing for the timely actioning of intelligence.

The Most Outstanding Female Practitioner Award, sponsored by the Police Association of New South Wales, was awarded to Senior Constable Kelly Chamberlain, Queensland Police Service. Senior Constable Chamberlain constantly strives to improve the lives of ‘at risk’ young women by breaking down barriers between young people and the police, only to rebuild them with trust, support and sustainable outcomes.

She has demonstrated an outstanding ability to engage with at risk youth and turn their lives around. She has continued to inspire young people not only within the Cairns District, Queensland also but further afield.


The Griffith University Women in Policing Scholarship was awarded to Detective Senior Constable Bree Sonter from the Far North District Drug Squad, Queensland Police Service to assist her in obtaining her Master of Terrorism and Security Studies.

Far North District Human Services Officer, Sue Donovan was nominated for the courage and integrity award. Sue displayed a level of commitment and dedication to duty that far exceeded the scope of her responsibilities, continually putting the welfare of Queensland Police Service officers and staff members ahead of her own, and striving to impart a positive impact on the support services provided. Sue has been integral in establishing and maintaining a sustainable peer support network in Cairns.

The Courage and Integrity Award, sponsored by QBank, 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 is presented to Sue Clifford, formerly a Commander with the Victorian Police. Ms Clifford espoused the Victoria Police organisational values, having developed a career that focuses her leadership on delivering enhanced public value and actively contributing to her jurisdiction’s engagement, support and protection of the diversity contained within modern Australian culture. Through her career Ms Clifford has led programs of work that have enhanced the safety of some of the community’s most vulnerable victims

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 all of this year’s nominees.

This year it was presented to Deborah Pearce, an Administration Manager with the South Australia Police. Deborah displays inspirational leadership for disabled women in providing employment opportunities which have positively impacted on the lives of women with a disability in the local community and her work with the Australian and State Disability Access and Inclusion Programs and South Australia Police.

Senior Sergeant Bec Caskey

The Bev Lawson Memorial Award, sponsored by Sajen Legal, 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 Senior Sergeant Bec Caskey from Victoria Police. Senior Sergeant Caskey has demonstrated sustained physical, mental and interpersonal strength to overcome entrenched barriers and forge the way for women to operate in male dominated fields, most notably as the first female in the Victoria Police Search and Rescue Squad

The Most Outstanding Female Investigator Award, sponsored by Queensland Police Union of Employees, is awarded to two recipients this year. The first award recipient is Queensland Police Officer, Detective Sergeant Virginia Gray.

Detective Sergeant Gray is inspirational to all investigators for her dedication, determination and professionalism demonstrated to achieve convictions for the murders and rape of Barbara McCulkin and her daughters, Barbara ‘Leanne’ and Vicky, some 43 years after their disappearance in January 1974.

Detective Sergeant Gray was instrumental in the successful reinvestigation of these murders, coordinating the investigative strategies that gathered never before obtained evidence and fresh direct admissions by the accused persons to criminal associates that sealed their eventual fate.

The second worthy recipient of this award is Superintendent Karyn Malthus from the New Zealand Police. Superintendent Malthus is inspirational with her outstanding leadership for women and her work with ‘Operation Clover’, the review investigation into the New Zealand Police handling of the very high profile ‘Roastbusters’ multi-agency sex investigation.

Her leadership has helped to restore the trust and confidence of New Zealand Police with a vulnerable community.

Natasha Habjan

The Most Outstanding Female Administrator Award, sponsored by Crimsafe Security Systems, is awarded to Victoria Police Senior Project Officer Natasha Habjan.

Ms Habjan shows exceptional dedication and record of achievement in the establishment of multi-disciplinary centres for victims of sexual offences and child abuse, working with integrity and resilience to co-locate police (Sexual offence and Child Abuse Investigation Teams), DHHS Child Protection, sexual assault support services, community health agencies and forensic medical services in seven sites across Victoria.

Senior Sergeant Va’alele Tofa

The Excellence in Law Enforcement for Women Initiative Award, sponsored by TripleZero Property and CoffeeFruit, was awarded to the Australian Institute of Police Management Program, Balance: Women Leaders in Public Safety. This program is improving women’s lives and safety and their capacity to contribute to the community through its alumnae network of women leaders. Each woman is equipped with the courage to use their collective voice to rewrite their success narrative; to speak out in support of positive cultural change, inclusion and diversity in the workplace; to build personal capability; and to bring others along on that journey.

The Pacific Island Scholarship, sponsored by Countrywide Austral, provided Senior Sergeant Va’alele Tofa, Samoa Police Service with the development opportunity to attend the 2017 International Women & Law Enforcement Conference in Cairns.

The Excellence in Law Enforcement in the Asia Pacific Region Award, sponsored by Tait Communications, was awarded to Superintendent Patricia Leta from the Royal Solomon Island Police Force. Superintendent Leta has shown outstanding leadership and innovation in implementing the Crime Prevention Strategy in Central Province, Solomon Islands and in her role as the first female Provincial Commander in the Solomon Islands. She is a quiet achiever who just goes about her work and runs a tight ship. She is well respected by her members, both male and female and her province is the best performing province for crime reporting, police discipline and community engagement.

Sergeant Sareima Aremwa, Nauru Police Force was recognised with a highly commended award in this category.

Dr Cate Bailey

The Excellence in Research on Improving Law Enforcement for Women Award, sponsored by Tasmania Police was awarded to Doctor Cate Bailey from Deakin University. Doctor Bailey demonstrates dedication, integrity and expertise.

She has produced an outstanding volume of research aimed at informing and directing policing and policy formation that aims to protect Indigenous women and children from sexual abuse. Doctor Bailey’s work provides clear recommendations to further develop policy to support women and children in addressing child sexual abuse in these communities. Voice 4 Values, a joint Queensland Police Service and University of Queensland program was recognised with a highly commended award in this category.

Superintendent Lauren Callaway

The Most Outstanding Female Leader Award, sponsored by Executive Central, is awarded to a member who demonstrates dynamic and innovative leadership, mentored and guided others and contributed significantly to their field. Superintendent Lauren Callaway was awarded this category because she inspires, motivates and builds the capability of Victoria Police to address issues of unconscious bias, promote diversity and flexible workplaces through her own personal actions and achievements.

She is also recognized for mentoring and coaching others, and her contribution as the first female chair of Victoria Police Legacy. Superintendent Callaway is an inspirational leader in Victoria Police who has contributed significantly to advance women in policing through her own achievements in achieving her rank, mentoring and coaching others.

Last but not least, I managed a nomination for most outstanding leader for my work in crime prevention and my commitment to bringing together key collaborative community partnerships instrumental in establishing preventative strategies to address underlying causes of crime in the far north. Whilst I didn’t manage to get a win, I was very proud to have been nominated by my superiors for this award and extremely proud of my team and our colleagues in the far north who work to prevent crime on a daily basis.

This year the judging panel also presented a Special Contribution Award to Commissioner Andrew Colvin, for his continued and unwavering support of ACWAP and women in law enforcement and the community.

AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin

Congratulations to all the nominees and of course all the award recipients from the Far North and throughout Australasia.

For more information on the awards go here

Special thanks go to the official IWLEC 2017 photographer Ness Kerton, madNESS Photography for the use of her beautiful photographs. 

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