September 30, 2022 2.09 pm This story is over 14 months old

Lincolnshire Police staff receive Disability Association Awards

Well done Mel and Nicky!

We are delighted that two of our staff have been recognised for their work with a National Disability Police Association Award.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Officer Melanie Cowell received the Lifetime Achievement Award and DI Nicky Duke received the award for Officer with Diverse Abilities.

T/Assistant Chief Constable Diane Coulson said: “I and the Chief Officer Team are so incredibly proud of Mel and Nicky for the work they have both done supporting those with neurodivergent conditions and other disabilities, both internally and for the communities we serve.

“The awards were very well deserved by both and it is such a fantastic achievement in a National setting. There is still much to do around improvements for those will disabilities, but we have lots of good people who are passionate about moving this forward and it’s really important to champion the good work that we are doing. Huge congratulations to Mel and Nicky!”

Winners were announced at the Disability in Policing National Conference held in Coventry on Wednesday. The awards aim to recognise the exceptional commitment of people in the service who have gone above and beyond to make a real difference to those living with a disability.

Head of EDI, Zara McArdle said: “We are extremely proud that our amazing colleagues have won these awards for their tireless efforts.”

Speaking of the Lifetime Achievement award for Melanie Cowell, Zara said: “What is outstanding about Mel’s contribution to disability in policing, is that for many years she was the only person supporting the entire EDI agenda for the force and despite limited resources has made significant gains in improving inclusion internally and externally.

“Mel is regularly celebrating the work of others; she wholeheartedly deserves this recognition for her exceptional impact in Lincolnshire Police.”

Zara described DI Nicky Duke as “a vital Champion of Disability in our Force, who strongly deserves the recognition, she is routinely going over and above to help others. Nicky has really stepped up to promote awareness and support colleagues, she is proactive in her approach to change things for the better, she is an exceptional example of a person with positivity and energy who is committed to making things better. This work is entirely self-initiated for all the right reasons and it is fantastic that her achievements and commitment have been awarded.”

Melanie Cowell – Lifetime Achievement Award

Having worked for the force in an Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion capacity and as a force volunteer for over 13 years, Mel has instigated significant improvements over the years as well as supporting regional and national activities.

Mel established close ties with Carers UK and enabled training workshops for regional forces and our internal Carers Network. She developed the Pegasus scheme which helps those who have difficulty using a phone to access our 999 service.

An extremely passionate supporter of British Sign Language (BSL) and the Lincs Sensory Service, she has delivered crime prevention sessions using interpreters and created easy read information to make our services more accessible, as well as ensuring the 999BSL relay service has been widely communicated. Now working diligently on introducing a BSL service for non-emergency calls.

Supporting our workforce, she initiated and Chairs the Menopause Network, extending support to Lincs Fire and Rescue, co-ordinating a group of menopause buddies. Ensuring awareness as widely as possible she runs an internal EDI Learning network, providing regular guidance, research, and news articles to members as well as regular Blogs force wide including ‘Interview with Menopause Doctor’ and ‘Why don’t we recognise Disability Hate Crime for what it is?’.

DI Nicky Duke – Officer with Diverse Abilities

Nominated for the incredible commitment she is making in raising awareness and improving the experience of neurodivergent individuals in service, Nicky has worked tirelessly in establishing and Chairing the Neurodiversity Network which she does predominantly in her own spare time.

Nicky was instrumental in introducing the Sunflower Scheme (for hidden disabilities), Personal Support Passports and supporting the introduction of Dyslexia Assessments. She has been working with other departments to improve support, policies, and practices, influencing the Senior Leadership Team in Lincolnshire Police via the EDI board. Volunteering as a Peer Supporter in force, she hopes to support those going through the Autism Diagnosis Process.

Nicky has recently trained as a Facilitator and is about to launch a College of Policing Pilot in Force through a Neurodiversity Action Learning Set. Nicky has been an exceptional ally to the Forces EDI Team. Making time to answer queries, ensuring Disability is firmly and highly on our agenda and always a willing volunteer. Nicky’s name was submitted on numerous occasions by both colleagues and senior leadership for this award.