by Dave Barry
A Scarborough police officer received the Queen’s police medal for distinguished service in the new-year honours.
Sara Widdrington, a constable and youth officer, works with young people, protecting them from harm and diverting them away from offending and the criminal justice system.
She will be presented with her medal at Buckingham Palace by a member of the royal family in March.
A spokesperson said: “She has an unstoppable drive and determination, consistently going beyond what is expected of her”.
PC Widdrington’s area of responsibility covers 17 secondary schools and 60 primary schools.
She proactively focuses on helping the most vulnerable young people and shares her knowledge and experience with PCSOs, who speak to children in schools about issues such as internet safety, bullying and sexting.
PC Widdrington 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 works tirelessly to get the best possible outcomes for young people who offend and ensure the consequences of their offending are proportionate”, the spokesperson said. “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, PC Widdrington 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, by 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: “Throughout the years, I have worked alongside many committed and passionate colleagues 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”.
* Inspector Bill Scott won the same award. Based in York, he helped set up the street triage and the health-based place of safety in Scarborough.