Police fundraiser receives MBE

Sarah Smithurst MBE'Police fundraiser
Sarah Smithurst MBE'Police fundraiser

A tireless charity fundraiser who has been instrumental in supporting Nottinghamshire Police in reducing and detecting crime has been recognised in the 2012 New Year honours.

Sarah Smithurst, the Force’s Crimestoppers co-ordinator, has been awarded an MBE for her work within Nottinghamshire Police to promote the UK charity.

The mother-of-two plays a pivotal part in ensuring information received from Crimestoppers is passed to the right investigating officers and she has been central in the launch a number of very successful campaigns, including Rat on a Rat, which targets drug dealers.

Sarah’s reputation locally and nationally also led to her being sought out by the British High Commission in Ghana to help them launch a similar project called Crimefighters.

It works along similar lines to Crimestoppers, although it is not independently run as it is in Britain, with calls handled by the Ghanaian Police.

Sarah, who is based in Mansfield, was responsible for training operators on how to handle calls that come in and what to do with the information.

Since August 2009, Sarah has made three successful trips to Ghana in her own time, seeing the Crimefighters project go from strength to strength across the country, with very little resource or financial assistance. Anonymous calls are already being received leading to some significant results.

She was made an honorary Superintendent in the Ghanaian Police to thank her for her support.

Sarah has continued to promote her work home and abroad, working with the National Police Aid Convoy (NPAC) to arrange for several containers to be filled with donations from the public and delivered, to help support orphans and poor communities in Ghana.

Her passion, ability, knowledge and skills have been dedicated to enabling police in Ghana and in Nottinghamshire to tackle serious crime and organised criminal activity, helping to improve the lives of law abiding people.

Latest figures, which were issued in May 2011, showed the Force topping the league for converting Crimestoppers information into arrests and charges, achieving a 44% increase compared to the national ten per cent, as well as a four per cent increase in the number of calls from the public made compared to the national one per cent.

Speaking of her accolade, Sarah said: “I was very shocked to hear that I had received an MBE but of course I am very humbled, honoured and pleased.

“I don’t feel that I have done anything out of the ordinary, as I really think that this recognition is not just for me, it is also for Nottinghamshire Police and the public of Nottinghamshire who have called in to give information which has led to the many arrests and charges we have seen.

“I live in Nottinghamshire and of course want to see the city and county safe and crime-free. My role helps me to play a part in doing so by passing on relevant information to the right people, to get criminals off the street. I am proud to be a part of a Force that enables me to do this.

“I would also like to express my sincere thanks for all the help I have received from NPAC, who play a pivotal part in getting aid to those people abroad who need it and a special thank you should go to the Ghanaian Police and the British High Commission in Ghana who have supported me in all my work.“

Chief Constable Julia Hodson paid tribute to Sarah’s hard work on hearing the news of her MBE.

She said: “Sarah has spent a lot of her own time in raising money and increasing awareness of Crimestoppers on behalf of the Force. Her tireless efforts have enabled rewards to be paid out for information that has seen many offenders sent to prison. “This award also recognises her significant efforts at using personal experience and dedication to help deliver aid and keep people safe, not only in Nottinghamshire but across Ghana. She is an asset to this Force, and one I am extremely proud of.”

The British honours system is one of the oldest in the world. Honours are awarded to people from all walks of life and all sections of society who have made a difference to their community.