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NZ Police clean up at ACWAP Excellence in Policing Awards

New Zealand Police dominated at the Australasian Council of Women and Policing (ACWAP) Excellence in Policing Awards 2018 in Perth, Australia last night.

Four New Zealand Police staff won an award, including the top prize and another staff member was awarded a highly commended.

“I want to extend a huge congratulations to these five incredible women on their awards which have been won as a result of their hard work and leadership,” says New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush.

Tanja Van Peer, Manager: National Finger Print Service Centre, was given the highest honour, the Bev Lawson Memorial Award.

The award is described as the Council’s most prestigious award which recognises the most outstanding woman who has been first in any policing or law enforcement activity or support service.

ACWAP acknowledged Tanja as an “outstanding protagonist for women in the New Zealand Police forensic profession”.

In 2013, Tanja became the first and only woman in NZ Police Fingerprinting Section’s 115 year history to be appointed as a manager and Principal Fingerprint Officer of a Regional Crime Prints Fingerprint Section.

Tanja’s natural leadership was recognised again when in 2016 she was appointed as the manager of the National Fingerprint Service Centre when it was established.

Her nomination for the award cited her as “an inspiring leader, who empowers those around her and works tirelessly to significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness in fingerprint service delivery to provide quality of outcomes for victims.”

Hamilton City Area Commander Inspector Freda Grace won the award for Most Outstanding Female Leader.

She has been recognised as someone who “leads with authenticity, courage and wisdom…she breaks down the perceived barriers surrounding the advancement of women in the New Zealand Police and she takes the time to guide others along the path she has blazed”.

Senior Sergeant Claire Bibby, Continuous Improvement Advisor, won the award for Excellence in Research on Improving Law Enforcement for Women.

The ACWAP Award nomination says her exceptional research makes a significant impact on developing strategies that contribute to better communication between police and people of different gender.

The Griffith University Women in Policing Scholarship was awarded to Detective Kelly Foster of Canterbury who is currently undertaking a Master of Science degree in Child and Family Psychology at the University of Canterbury.

Her thesis is to examine the potential links between a non-offending contact with police and future criminality by youth in New Zealand - a research focus the award nomination recognised as having “the potential to impact across New Zealand and the wider South Pacific”.

Joanne Henderson, a victim identification investigator in the Online Child Exploitation Across New Zealand (OCEANZ) team, was also recognised with a highly commended award for Most Outstanding Female Investigator.

“It is outstanding to see our staff recognised for the work they do, the achievements they have made and the example they set as women leaders in New Zealand Police,” says Commissioner Bush.

“Tanja, Freda, Claire, Kelly and Joanne make a difference every day with the work they do for New Zealand Police.

They should be incredibly proud of themselves, as is the rest of New Zealand Police.”


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