Two Surrey Chief Officers recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours List
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The Chief Constable of Surrey Police, Gavin Stephens, and the Chief Officer of Surrey Special Constabulary, Ken Iredale, have both been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List published today (June 12).
Gavin Stephens, who has been at Surrey for 24 of his 27 years in policing, was awarded a Queen’s Police Medal (QPM) in recognition of his distinguished service and lasting contribution to Neighbourhood Policing.
Nominated for his ‘inspirational leadership’ and ‘infectious enthusiasm’ for the job, Gavin has served at every rank in Surrey Police from Police Constable to Chief Constable.
As a chief officer, he held the national portfolio for Neighbourhood Policing working to re-define new guidelines and modernise community engagement. His team also collected evidence from around the country to show the contribution of dedicated local teams to all areas of policing from counter-terrorism to organised crime. By ensuring the impact of these guidelines could be measured, his work has allowed best practice to be shared nationally helping to shape the future of UK policing.
Born and bred in Hartlepool, Gavin studied engineering before joining Cambridgeshire Constabulary. In 1996 he moved to Surrey where he was initially based in Neighbourhood Policing on the east of the county. Although he went on to work in various teams, including Serious and Organised Crime and Professional Standards, Neighbourhood Policing has remained a constant passion throughout his career. After qualifying as a chief officer in 2013, Gavin became Deputy Chief Constable in 2016 and Chief Constable in 2019.
Currently, as national lead for Social Media and Digital Engagement, he personally champions how policing can use social media to positive effect within communities by sharing information to help prevent crime, pursue offenders and keep people safe.
Gavin said: “I am honoured to have been awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for doing a job I absolutely love. For me, working with people in our communities and building relationships is really the core of what policing is about. It’s why I joined and it’s still what drives me today. Being able to influence the development of Neighbourhood Policing at a national level has been extremely rewarding. I have met, worked with, and learned from some incredible people along the way and I am proud that together we are keeping neighbourhood teams at the heart of how we police in the UK.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, Lisa Townsend, said: “Gavin has dedicated his entire career to serving our local communities and it is wonderful he has been recognised, not just for his contribution to Surrey, but to policing as a whole through his national portfolio work. Although only a month into my role as PCC, I have seen first-hand the leadership and commitment Gavin brings the Force and neighbourhoods across Surrey, and I congratulate him on this well-deserved achievement.”
Chief Officer of Surrey Special Constabulary, Ken Iredale, also received recognition by being awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his work on the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A Special Constable for 14 years, for the past five Ken has served as Chief Officer with responsibility for more than 130 volunteer officers on top of his paid job as a pilot.
Nominated as a ‘true ambassador’ for the Special Constabulary, since the pandemic began he has personally volunteered over 800 operational hours in support of the Roads Policing Unit and the Special Constabulary Drone Team - but in addition he has volunteered a similar number both in his role as one of the commanders in the Force’s Covid-19 operation and in the overall management of special constables throughout.
Ken said: “I am humbled to have been individually nominated for this honour, especially as I work with an amazing group of people who inspire me by the enthusiasm and teamwork they show every day. At the last count, officers in the Surrey Special Constabulary had contributed an incredible 57,000 hours since the first lockdown - both out on the frontline across many areas and teams, and behind the scenes. I can’t thank them enough for their hard work and this recognition is really for all of them and the dedication they have shown, and continue to show, during these challenging times.”
Chief Constable Gavin Stephens said: “Ken thoroughly deserves this award for the brilliant work he has done throughout his service but in particular over the past year which has seen exceptional pressure on frontline services. He leads by example giving up significant amounts of his time despite having a demanding profession and a busy family life. Not only does he motivate and develop others, he also drives innovation to make the service better. He is a true asset and we simply couldn’t have achieved what we have without him and all the officers in our Special Constabulary who help to keep our communities safe.”