Specialist police online abuse team honoured in awards

A team of police officers whose work to protect children from online sexual abuse benefited hundreds of youngsters are amongst those who have been recognised for their achievements within Police Scotland.

Members of the Specialist Crime Division in a taskforce set up with a “clear focus on protecting children and targeting perpetrators” were named as the Chief Constable’s overall winner in the Police Scotland’s Bravery and Excellence Awards.

Constable Paul Scougall, from Fife – who returned to work just nine months after undergoing a heart transplant, was given the Police Unsung Hero Award.

Sergeant Doug Green was recognised after he and another officer helped rescue four children and their mother from a car which left the road and plunged into a river.

Specialist police online abuse team honoured in awards

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And member of the public Robert Dick, who chased a knife-wielding robber after hearing a shopkeeper’s shouts for help, was also honoured.

A total of 57 awards were handed out during the virtual ceremony, with these going to officers who demonstrated outstanding bravery against violent offenders, as well as members of the public who put their own lives in danger to help others.

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said the honours were given out after an “intense and demanding year” which had underlined the “relentless nature of policing”.

Mr Livingstone said: “Helping those in crisis goes to the heart of policing’s core values and purpose.

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“Today’s awards remind us of the individual acts undertaken to that end every day, right across Scotland.

“Equally, we recognise acts of bravery by members of the public who have gone above and beyond what can be expected of a citizen.

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The group of officers awarded the Greatest Contribution to Policing Priorities Award worked as part of Operation Parror, and over the course of one year the digital forensics team carried out 402 investigations and examined 4,227 devices.

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This work helped to protect 727 children and resulted in the arrest of 364 individuals.

Sergeant Green was honoured for his actions on September 6 2020, when he and a colleague attended after a driver lost control of his car on the A99 in the Highlands, resulting in the vehicle rolling and ending up in a river.

Sergeant Green went into the river, and while his colleague held the unconscious driver’s head above water, he helped the four children and their mother to the river bank.

Both officers then worked to free the trapped driver, before performing CPR on him, and while the man died, the swift action of the police prevented more lives from being lost in the incident.

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Meanwhile Mr Dick was passing a petrol station in Musselburgh on March 2 2021 while a balaclava-clad robber wielding a knife threatened the shopkeeper there.

After the robber vaulted the counter, the shopkeeper called for help, with Mr Dick responding. He and another man chased the robber, who had taken some cash, and tackled him to the ground before seizing his weapon.

Constable Scougall was just 27 when in January 2019 he was told he would need a heart transplant, undergoing surgery in March 2019.

Experts thought he would need at least two years before returning to duty, but the determined officer was back at work, on modified duties, after nine months.

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