Roads Policing Outstanding Contribution Award Winners

29 January 2016

Roads Policing Awards

Overall Award Winner Insp Craig Clifton

Last night, the Roads Policing Conference was proud to present the Outstanding Contribution to Road Policing Awards sponsored by Irwin Mitchell LLP. Roads Police Officers were recognised for making “meritorious and outstanding” contributions to the roads policing portfolio during the last twelve months.

We are pleased to congratulate the following police officers:

Overall winner: Inspector Craig Clifton – South Yorkshire
Inspector Clifton has made significant contributions at all levels of Roads Policing, from crime intervention and road safety policy, to serious collision investigation and vehicle procurement. Inspector Clifton not only heads a team of 80 staff, he takes on many extra duties, including being the national lead for pursuit management and development. He has been a pivotal part of uniting regional roads policing practice, and his work as lead review officer into serious police related collisions has transformed national policy and support. Inspector Clifton also had the vision and drive to set up a Force Driving Standards Panel, to help reduce the number of police involved in road traffic collisions, and develop and influence driver training.

Joint Runners-Up:
Sergeant Paul Mountford – Merseyside Police
Chief Inspector (rtd) Christopher Spinks - Norfolk & Suffolk Constabularies

Sergeant Paul Mountford has been nominated for using a problem-solving approach spanning decades to tackle the numerous road safety issues facing police. A serving officer for 29 years, Sergeant Mountford has been responsible for planning and co-ordinating key road safety messages, operations and initiatives in multiple areas. Key outcomes include bringing drug driving to the fore in this particular force, securing additional funding for new drug screening testers and setting up courses which have seen 522 officers being trained. Working with the judiciary in an educational role has also resulted in an increase in positive convictions. This officer’s passion and enthusiasm is infectious, supported by their operational experience and commitment to save lives.

Chief Inspector (rtd) Christopher Spinks has been involved in with Roads Policing since the early 90s, and progressed from working on the Armed Response Vehicle, to heading a joint Roads Policing and Firearms Operation Unit. Chief Insp Spinks drove partnerships across Constabularies, and negotiated an externally funded Road Casualty Reduction team, with a focus on reducing death or serious injuries involving powered two wheelers. This officer also led a controversial project which saw the release of a video depicting a fatal motorcycle collision. The campaign, which required coordination between police, the families involved, media and legal teams, has been incredibly successful – with the video being viewed in excess of 17.5 million times. This officer’s incredibly hard work played a huge part in his region recording a 17% reduction in deaths and serious injuries in 2014.

Joint 3rd Place:
PC Claire Byrne – West Midlands Police
PC Alexander Sweet – City of London Police

Over the past five years, PC Claire Byrne has made a considerable impact on road collision investigations in a newly-formed unit, initiating the development of a new standard of accredited investigation training for the force as well as implementing the role of Digital Media Investigator. These qualifications have traditionally been for CID officers dealing with crime, however the nominee has fought to ensure that the importance of these skills was recognised in road policing. Not only has PC Byrne improved the unit’s overall operating practices, this tenacious officer has also been directly responsible for solving two fatal hit-and-run collisions within the past 12 months.

PC Alexander Sweet has been nominated for his exceptional dedication, enthusiasm and hard work in Roads Policing. A serving officer for 20 years, and specialising in Roads Policing nearly 15 of those, this nominee has strived to make the roads a safe environment for the public. Of particular merit is this officer’s hard work in developing and executing a programme to educate cyclists and reduce casualties. The aim of the work, which has resulted in a popular road show, was to make a lasting change to cyclist’s behaviour and attitudes by increasing their awareness of potential dangers. This officer makes a point of engaging with the community they serve, making safety presentations and crime prevention talks at local businesses. In between all this, the officer always finds time to hit the streets and do the job he loves- patrolling and making the roads safe for those who use them.

4th Place: Police Sergeant Lee Westhead – Greater Manchester Police
Just like the Canadian Mounties who always get their man, Sergeant Lee Westhead refused to admit defeat when trying to catch the killer of a five-year-old boy. The victim died in 2003 after being hit by a car when crossing the road with his mother. The car was later found abandoned but subsequent investigation failed to identify the driver and a verdict of unlawful killing was recorded at the inquest. Ten years later, the case was re-opened and Sergeant Westhead began a 2.5 year hunt for the perpetrator. Refusing to take no for an answer, this officer doggedly sifted through evidence, interviewed witnesses and identified a new suspect in the quest for the truth. It then took multiple appeals to CPS, and a re-trial before the driver was finally convicted of causing death by dangerous driving in 2013.