Detective Sergeant Deborah Withington – Investigative Services
Detective Constable Tessa Crabb – Investigative Services
This award is designed to acknowledge exceptional investigative work and is open to investigative personnel only.
A successful investigation into the grooming and rape of a vulnerable 12-year-old girl is testimony to the tenancity and outstanding work of Detective Sergeant Deborah Withingtonn and Detective Constable Tessa Crabb.
The girl was so traumatised by her ordeal that she was unable to speak of the crimes committed against her.
Both officers though were determined to secure justice for the victim so they developed an innovative approach to secure evidence in a sensitive and caring manner to enable the victim to deliver it at court. They videoed the process and used a laptop to type out the questions for the girl, who responded.
This approach had never been used in any investigation within the region and had never been used in a court of law. Not being able to conform to conventional evidential or court processes, the officers went the extra distance to push the boundaries of what could be done for the victim. It made the investigation massively challenging, not only from the investigative process but also the entire court processes.
This was clearly a victim-focused approach; doing what was right for the victim, not just doing what had been done before or adopting a negative attitude.
The mindset of both officers was that justice needed to be done for the victim and that they would develop whatever process they needed to comply with legislation and satisfy the court. This approach saw a dangerous and predatory offender being sentenced to 11-years imprisonment.