Winner of Women in Policing Award: Zuleika Payne

18 May 2016

A Rotherham police officer, who works as a specialist community engagement officer in hard-to-reach communities, has won the national Women in Policing Award at this year’s Police Federation Conference, held at the Bournemouth International Centre.

Zuleika Payne, who has been a police officer for 24 years, was chosen from six finalists and was rewarded for her innovative work which has led to, among others things, changes in the law.

Choosing a policing career over ballet, Zuleika worked in a variety of policing and traffic roles before becoming a community officer.

Between 2003 and 2010, Zuleika organised and hosted two Forced Marriage conferences for her force, South Yorkshire Police. This resulted in a 40-50% increase in reporting of these types of crime and allowed the authorities to take action where necessary and support the victims. This piece of work attracted the attention of the Home Office, and Zuleika was able to contribute to the consultation that led to the introduction of the forced marriage legislation.

Due to her experience in community affairs, she was chosen to lead on the new counter terrorism “PREVENT” initiative in Rotherham. This aimed to make sure that vulnerable people, especially the young, did not get lured into extremism or terrorist groups. She was able to gain positive support and ensure confidence in this due to her contacts within the local community.

Her role has been incorporated into the Vulnerable Persons Unit, where she continues to work around specialist engagement with a host of groups including the NHS, further education colleges, local Mosques and Madrasahs as well as continuing to build relationships with new and emerging communities. Zuleika became a Federation representative in 2005 and is the Equality Lead for the South Yorkshire board.

Speaking about her win she said: “I am absolutely delighted to be the recipient of this award. I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to those involved in the decision making process and also my police colleagues. I am immensely proud that South Yorkshire Police have been recognised for the service we provide to the community day in day out. This is becoming increasingly difficult as we are losing a vast swathes of officers."

Hayley Ayley, the National Women’s Reserve representative for the Police Federation of England and Wales said “It was an honour to be part of the judging panel and be able to judge the high standard of deserving female officers who have all, through true adversity or with clear passion and drive, developed and promoted women in policing.

Zuleika has achieved so much both through the federation and publicly to help communities and show the true dedication of women in policing. We are truly inspired by her and her achievements"

Other finalists, happy to share their story, included;

PC Victoria Harriott, from the Metropolitan Police Service, who was nominated for her role as an instructor in a specialist training environment. Not only were women hugely under-represented in the training staff, they were also scarce amongst those officers seeking training. Undertaking research in her own time she found that women made up only 4% of the officers currently trained. Through her approach to chief officers she put together a bespoke package where female officers could visit specialist training centres to gain a better insight of the course requirements and the career opportunities available. Due to the amount of interest, this is now being delivered on a regular basis across the force.

Inspector Jacqui Jenkins, from Sussex Police, was nominated for her role in Evolve, the Sussex Police Women’s Network Support Group, a professional support network for officers and staff who work or volunteer with Sussex Police. Since joining in 2013 and taking on the role of Deputy Chair, Jacqui has set up a Twitter account for Evolve andcreated an exhibition of 100 years in policing at the Brighton Fringe Event. Further still she decided to set herself the challenge of getting a photograph of over 100 women on the lawn of Police HQ to celebrate the different roles and responsibilities they play and organised for a blue plaque to commemorate Gladys Moss, the first female police officer in West Sussex who served from 1919 to 1941, managing to track down and invite surviving members of Gladys’s family.

PC Claire Large from Humberside Police was the first operational female officer in the force to become an advanced motorcyclist. As a roads policing officer, she is committed to supporting casualty reduction campaigns and was successful in being accepted to become a motorcycle trainer. During 2015, Claire undertook two very difficult Family Liaison Officer roles as the main lead. The first incident she dealt with was the death of a colleague, who was a fellow roads policing officer and the second the death of a response officer. Both were killed in motorcycle collisions within five months of each other. Despite the huge emotional impact these cases had on her, Claire’s communication skills, patience and work have been praised by the families of both officers as well as colleagues and police federation representatives