Met officers and staff recognised in Queen’s birthday honours


Eight serving and former Met officers and staff have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for their achievements and long service in policing.

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The recipients are:

Paula Cooper, Police Constable – British Empire Medal (BEM)

Susan Hill, Specialist Operations training unit manager – British Empire Medal (BEM)

Varsha Mistry, Forensic Practitioner Manager – British Empire Medal (BEM)

Tim Gray, former Detective Superintendent – Queen’s Police Medal (QPM)

Police Constable James McAllister – Queen’s Police Medal (QPM)

Police Constable Michael Wallace – Queen’s Police Medal (QPM)

Co-Founder of Kickoff@3

Vicky Washington, former Detective Superintendent – Queen’s Police Medal (QPM)

Marc O’Shea, Detective Sergeant – Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO)

Acting Commissioner Sir Stephen House, said: “I am delighted that so many Metropolitan police officers and police staff have been recognised by Her Majesty The Queen in the Birthday Honours. They should be very proud of their dedicated service, wonderful achievements, and the positive impact they have had in so many different ways in keeping London and its communities safe.”

PC Paula Cooper has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for enthusiastically supporting and developing over 3,700 volunteer police cadets (VPC) across London since 2015. She has ensured that the VPC benefits from as wide a range of experiences and opportunities as possible, and her drive and determination has led to 43% of the VPC being from under-represented communities and 49% being female, creating a truly diverse organisation. Her personal investment of hours, work and commitment has enabled the VPC to flourish.

She said: “I am really honoured to be receiving this award. I actually didn’t believe it initially and I’m really lucky to do a job that I’m really passionate about and really makes a difference to young people. The cadets is such a great programme allowing young people to get an insight and understanding of policing and gain valuable life experience”.

Varsha Mistry immersed herself in her role within forensics when she joined the Met in 1983, and has spent her service driving diversity, inclusion and engagement within her community and the MPS through her influential role with the Metropolitan Police Hindu Association (MPHA). She was the first Indian woman to achieve MPS Fingerprint Expert status and has examined crime scenes for serious crime, murder and counter-terrorism.

Varsha has been instrumental in leading inclusion and diversity in police recruitment, developed crime prevention initiatives, improved community engagement and launched fundraising projects, as well as organising over 200 local, national and international events. The community, officers and staff benefit from her enhancing a sense of belonging, drawing on gems of Hindu wisdom in striving for gender parity, building confidence and encouraging progression, while inspiring others through presentations and networking. She instils pride and is a visible positive role model. The MPHA and the MPS have grown together, striving to seek out a more inclusive and cohesive relationship with hard to reach communities, none of which would be possible without Varsha’s hard work and dedication.

She said: “I’m incredibly humbled by the proposers of this most kind nomination. This recognition comes as a truly overwhelming and unexpected surprise. It’s been fulfilling to draw on the universal values of Sanatan (Hindu) Dharma to serve the Met Police and our communities, whilst bringing them closer together.”

Tim Gray, former Met detective superintendent and head of the Covert Governance unit, was responsible for providing advice to those seeking to apply for the authorisation of covert activity under the Investigatory Powers Act. He was uniquely influential in the professionlisation of this bespoke and sensitive area, and greatly improved standards, processes, training and understanding among operational teams across the MPS. He built and trained a cadre of Operational Security Advisors with a wealth of knowledge between them, who provide operational advice, risk management and review; setting the standard at both an MPS and national level. During the most recent inspection of covert authorities by the Investigatory Powers Commissioners Office, the MPS did not receive any recommendations for improvement – a first and an incredible achievement, particularly given the volume and scale of this activity in the Met. Tim was also instrumental in creating the foundation training process for undercover officers nationally and designing the content, which was adopted by the College of Policing. The material he created also now forms the base structure for all national undercover foundation training used by UK law enforcement agencies.

He said: “I’m delighted and honoured to be the recipient of the Queen’s Police Medal. I feel extremely fortunate to have enjoyed such an interesting and rewarding police career, working with some amazing people and leading a number of great teams.”

PC James McAllister has been recognised for the outstanding contribution to public order policing he has made in London since 2006. He has led senior officers command training (Inspector to Deputy Assistant Commissioner) and has earned a reputation of being one of the most effective public order practitioners in the country. He was instrumental in developing the concept of Police Liaison Teams (PLT’s) in managing protest and devised this role profile, which has been adopted nationally by the College of Policing. PC McAllister has been consistently operationally deployed to significant roles in the most challenging policing operations, from numerous state occasions including the 2011 Royal wedding and 2012 Olympics to multiple right-wing protests.

He said: “I am humbled and extremely honoured to receive this recognition. This is not just my honour; it is a reflection on the great work of all the fantastic people I get to work with. This places the spotlight on the crucial work that a huge amount of people do in the background supporting the MPS Public Order Public Cadre, who regularly deliver plans to keep London safe, maintain the peace and protect people’s rights, often in difficult and sensitive circumstances. To be awarded for something that I love doing is awesome.”

PC Michael Wallace, who works in youth/community engagement in south London, has been recognised for his outstanding community work. In 2017 Michael co-founded the award winning national KickOff@3 football engagement initiative to change negative narratives around young people and provide them with sporting and wider opportunities that enables them to come together with police in a safe space through sport, music and poetry. He is the Youth Lead for the MPS Black Police Association acting as a role model and inspiration to all police officers and staff offering support and mentoring. Michael is also a positive voice for colleagues promoting inclusion and celebrating diversity in the police service, not only in London, but through KickOff@3 nationally.

He said: “I am truly humbled to be recognised by Her Majesty in her Honours Awards, whilst being included with other inspiring names. It gives me immense pride as a serving Metropolitan Police Officer, but also as a community volunteer where I dedicate invaluable time to support young people and charities across the country.”

Vicky Washington, former detective superintendent and 2021 winner of the British Association of Women Police Lifetime Achievement award, has been an impassioned advocate highlighting violence against women and girls for three decades. After joining in 1991 she joined the Territorial Support Group (TSG) where she trained in surveillance, she completed an MSc in Policing Studies in 1998. She completed this work while pregnant with her first child and she went on to have four children between1998-2003. It was this academic and personal experience that would go on to define her legacy in safeguarding. As lead for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in 2011, she pioneered work with multiple airline partners to stop girls being taken out of the UK. Operation Limelight received high profile national attention, was commended by the Home Office and FCO and this legacy is now embedded within the MOPAC annual plan.

Her leadership at the 2012 Olympics as International Liaison Communications Manager increased stakeholder engagement up to 100%, and as Domestic Abuse (DA) lead, she implemented improvements across multiple categories, from victim care to reporting levels, and training. As continuous improvement lead for Child Abuse Investigations, she identified the potential for radicalisation in supplementary schools, improving awareness of legislation and child protection across a raft of public institutions. In 2018 she was selected as Deputy National Co-ordinator for Prevent where she brought together a career’s worth of experience to ensure holistic support for those vulnerable and their families. In addition, her substantial mentoring work, especially for those from under-represented groups, has establishing lasting partnerships and positively influenced tens of thousands of girls and young women.

She said: “I’m delighted and honoured to receive the QPM especially during her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee year. I feel humbled to be recognised in this way and continue to think of all my colleagues who do such a challenging job day in and out.”

DS Marc O’Shea has spent fifteen years positively and progressively shaping the relationship between the Metropolitan Police Service and the Royal Household (RH), in delivering Residential Protection at Windsor Castle for Her Majesty The Queen and members of the Royal Family. He has been the driving force and instrumental in progressing and leading the Windsor Operations and Events team, overseen the introduction of more robust and rigorous security measures for all events and the use of the MPS Specials Constabulary at events. Marc has put tremendous personal effort in to developing excellent relationships with the all key partner departments as well as numerous other pivotal stakeholders – he is quite simply a subject matter expert on all matters of Residential Protection where Windsor Castle is concerned. He has been instrumental in delivering some of the most significant high profile public events there, including multiple Royal family weddings, American presidential visits and the funeral of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. The past two years have globally presented an unprecedented challenge to all due to the coronavirus pandemic and Marc formulated alternative operational protocols for continued service delivery in the face of resource shortages. Although he could easily have progressed up the promotion ladder, he took a conscious decision to stay in a role he loves and continuously exceeds the expectation of his role, exuding a “can do attitude”. He is an absolute credit to RaSP, the MPS and indeed Windsor Castle in its entirety.

He said: “Working with the Royal Household has been a real privilege and I am delighted and proud to be recognised in Her Majesty the Queen’s birthday honours list. I have had some amazing experiences while posted to RaSP and have created memories that will last a lifetime.”

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