TWO outstanding officers have been recognised for their contribution to policing in Sussex by the Queen.

Her Majesty named two Sussex officers in the Birthday Honours List today.

They were Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Rayland, who was awarded the Queen’s Policing Medal (QPM) and Inspector Chris Varrall, awarded the MBE.

Chief Supt Rayland has worked as the force’s lead on public protection and helping victims of domestic abuse.

He has reviewed and changed policies about how officers handle callouts to confined home situations during the Covid-19 pandemic, and understood how this can impact on a victim’s ability to come forward and report abuse.

Sussex Police said he launched a team of trained officers to use better technology to help protect victims.

He also made sure that officers were specifically tasked with attending incidents of domestic abuse.

The policies Chief Supt Rayland has created have since been taken up by other forces across the country.

Insp Chris Varrall's award recognises his outstanding initiative and personal commitment in creating and launching two local safeguarding projects when he was a Sergeant in East Sussex.

He launched Operation Disovery to identify victims of human trafficking and modern slavery, helping hundreds of vulnerable victims

It has received national recognition by the Government as good practice and as a result of his initiative victims have been safeguarded, awareness has been raised, and offenders have been brought to justice.

Insp Varrall also created schemes to tackle antisocial youths, bringing police, education, charities and public sector schemes together to prevent youngsters behaviour from getting worse to a stage where they got a criminal record.

More than 900 young people have engaged with the scheme and 769 have been formally referred.

Following the announcement of their awards, Chief Supt Rayland said: "I am delighted and humbled to have been nominated for this award.

“Policing is all about a team effort and it is a privilege to work with really committed police officers and staff who are passionate about protecting vulnerable people.

“The pandemic created significant challenges for policing domestic abuse and changing our response to ensure that we could support those in need was vital. I am proud of what Sussex Police is achieving in supporting and protecting victims, and investigating domestic abuse."

The Argus: Chief Superintendent Steve Rayland (left) and Inspector Chris Varrall (right)Chief Superintendent Steve Rayland (left) and Inspector Chris Varrall (right)

Insp Varrall said: "I was shocked and amazed when I received the notification from the Cabinet Office that I had received this award.

“Working on designing and developing both Reboot and Discovery we took a whole partnership approach and I will forever be thankful for the exceptional people that make up both teams, diverting people away from the dangers and risks that they face.

“This battle doesn't end here and must continue, as exploitation exists all around us. I cannot thank Sussex Police and Sussex PCC Katy Bourne enough for supporting both these initiatives."

Chief Constable Jo Shiner said: "On behalf of everyone in Sussex Police I extend our congratulations to both Steve and Chris.

"Combating domestic abuse, modern slavery and the vulnerability of young people are priorities for the force, and we are delighted that the innovative and committed approach of our two colleagues to developing new ways of protecting the public, has been so publicly and nationally recognised.

"This recognition is also a tribute to the teamwork and enthusiasm of equally dedicated officers and staff working with them across the force."

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: "I’m proud that two Sussex Police officers have been recognised in the Queen’s Honours List for their innovative contributions to ensuring the safety of some of our most vulnerable.

The Argus: Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne and Chief Constable Jo ShinerSussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne and Chief Constable Jo Shiner

“Steve has spearheaded the force’s response to domestic abuse during the pandemic, which has been nationally commended and has helped so many who may otherwise have slipped through the protective net.

“The early intervention programme, Reboot, was funded by and run out of my office for three years so during this time I was able to see first-hand the passion Chris has for turning around young people’s lives for the better.

“I want to thank them both for their outstanding service and congratulate them on this well-deserved recognition.”