Kilburn officers win ‘best team’ accolade

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Kilburn Safer Neighbourhood team has received a top honour for the work they do to serve the communities of Derbyshire.

The team of officers were awarded the title of Neighbourhood Team of the Year 2015 at a ceremony in Ripley last week.

The team has been together since 2013, with the two officers – PC Neil Hopwell and PCSO John Midgley – work opposite shifts to each other but work closely as a team, sharing responsibility and taking over when the other is off duty.

They are both highly visible in the community, with PC Hopwell known locally as The Bobby of the Bike.

In the past 12 months they have been particularly active in the area of road safety, targeting speeding and dangerous parking to great effect particularly outside school gates.

The team actively promote the Travel Smart campaign, encouraging parents and children to walk, cycle and scoot to school, with Neil of course leading by example on his bike.

In fact, National Bike Week was celebrated with the Tour de Denby with 40 primary school youngsters taking part.

The campaign has been so successful, Kilburn Infant and Nursery School and Denby Free Primary School received a national award, while Neil and John have also received a national Modeshift award for their work promoting active travel.

The top honour led to them being invited to give a talk at a national schools conference in London.

Then of course there’s their force Twitter account – a model used for newcomers to follow and observe. There’s their work with the Bluebox youth club on the Parks Estate in Belper. After a fire, the team secured funding for a replacement youth shelter and floodlighting. Neil and John visit on a weekly basis forming positive relationships.

Their community has benefitted from their work with a reduction in the number of crimes and reports of anti-social behaviour, and much increased feelings of public safety. One local resident sums the team up: “Trailblazing if you ask me! Love them to bits!” We couldn’t have said it any better.

Chief Constable Mick Creedon, who was a member of the judging panel, said: “The ceremony was about recognising and rewarding some of the fantastic work that takes place across the county.

“It was a tremendous evening, and I’m extremely proud of the dedication and commitment shown by so many.”