POLICE officers have been commended at an awards ceremony for their work on complex cases.

DC Mark Austen and DC Erica Lawrie, of Sussex Police, helped bring justice to victims of domestic abuse and a man who suffered sexual abuse as a child.

DC Lawrie, of the Littlehampton safeguarding investigations unit (SIU), helped uncover a babysitter who sexually abused a boy in his care.

The victim spoke out to police when he was 30 about abuse happening when he was 14 and 15.

Following seizure and examination of his laptop, the evidence forced the man into pleading guilty on the first day of his trial. He was convicted of three counts of sexual activity and one count of inciting, and the judge thanked DC Lawrie for her thorough investigation.

DC Austen, from the Hastings SIU, was praised for his work investigating an arson in which a man torched the door of his ex-girlfriend’s flat in Bexhill.

Police said DC Austen’s investigation and support to the victim was “to a very high standard”.

Chief Superintendent Jayne Dando, head of the Public Protection Command, presented the officers with certificates of commendation at the Hove Cricket Ground.

She said: “Our officers and staff protect some of the most vulnerable people across Sussex. We work closely with partners and other police teams to protect both children and adults who are vulnerable through domestic abuse, sexual abuse or because of their mental health or circumstances.

“We also have strategic force responsibility for working with other agencies in the management of some of the most dangerous offenders in Sussex.

“Our work is usually unseen by the general public, but although we do not wear uniform or patrol the streets we are still very much at the front line of operational policing, working alongside all our other colleagues – as well as with a wide range of partners from statutory and other agencies.

“Much of what my teams do involves long-term exposure to some of the most distressing and challenging personal situations, whether with victims or offenders, in our society. I am very proud of the dedication and resolute professionalism our officers and staff show every day.”