A Scarborough police constable has been given the Queen’s Police Medal in this year’s New Year’s Honours.
PC Sara Widdrington, who is a Youth Officer based in Scarborough, was honoured for her work in protecting young people.
This is her third year in the post and follows a five-year secondment to the Youth Justice Service. She is passionate about working with young people, protecting them from harm and diverting them away from offending and the criminal justice system. She has an unstoppable drive and determination, consistently going beyond what is expected of her.
Her area of responsibility covers 17 secondary schools and 60 primary schools where she proactively focuses on personally helping the most vulnerable young people and shares her knowledge and experience with her Police Community Support Officer colleagues who support her by going into schools to speak to young people about issues such as internet safety, bullying and sexting.
She was integral to the police response to a local problem around ‘legal highs’ and worked hard to tackle the issue before it was nationally recognised as a high priority. She continues to educate young people about the dangers of substance misuse.
By closely working with partners in the council, the Youth Justice Service and her policing colleagues, she goes works tirelessly mile to get the best possible outcomes for young people who offend and ensure the consequences of their offending are proportionate. Her philosophy is one of education before enforcement, which sometimes means challenging and educating her colleagues as much as it does educating young people.
In 2014 she won the Emergency Services Category in the Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards for her heroic actions, when off duty and out shopping with her son, in disarming and restraining an armed robber.
She joined North Yorkshire Police in 2003 and took up her current role in 2013.
Speaking about her award, PC Widdrington said: “It is a true honour to be awarded the Queen's Police Medal for Distinguished Service. I am overwhelmed with pride.
“Throughout the years, I have worked alongside many committed and passionate colleagues within North Yorkshire Police to improve the way we engage with children and young people.
“I have also worked closely with a number of fantastic partner agencies such as The Prevention Service, Multi Systemic Therapists, Youth Justice Service, Children and Families, schools and colleges. who have all been relentless in their dedication making a positive difference within young people's lives.
“I would like to thank my wonderful family and friends for their constant support and encouragement.”
Minister for Policing and the Fire Service Nick Hurd, added: “PC Widdrington has played a vital role as a Youth Officer for North Yorkshire Police, being responsible for working with 17 secondary schools and 60 primary schools. I would like to thank her for her tireless service. I am also encouraged that more than half of the Queen’s Police Medals continue to be awarded to rank and file police officers, in recognition of their hard work in cutting crime and keeping communities safe.”