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A retired Wiltshire Police officer has been honoured with the Queen’s Police Medal for his work on rape and serious sexual offences during 30 years of dedicated service to the Force.
Detective Sergeant Bob Cooper received the award from His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales in an investiture at Windsor Castle on Tuesday, November 8.
The award is given to police in the United Kingdom for distinguished service or bravery in the face of danger.
DS Cooper joined the Force in 1991, and – following a career in major and serious organised crime – spent the final four years of his time with Wiltshire Police as the tactical lead for rape and serious sexual offences and then for investigative crime standards.
This work involved improving how the Force managed investigations into rape and serious sexual offences, improving the victim’s experience through the Criminal Justice System, improving justice outcomes for victims of sexual violence, and working with the Crown Prosecution Service to raise standards and set a new culture.
He also worked closely with community policing teams on improving practices in the first contact with victims and provided advice and support to senior investigating officers and investigators.
DS Cooper, who now works for the National Crime Agency, said working within the VAWG (Violence against Women and Girls) space had been incredibly challenging but that it was a time “where you genuinely felt you could make a small difference to people going through the worst moments of their lives”.
He said: “I wanted to make that difference wherever I could.
“Whether that was improving services, finding money for SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre), working with uniformed officers improve the way they engaged with victims on first contact or working with detectives on improving the qualities of their investigations.
“It was that ethos of making a difference.”
In honour of his work, DS Cooper attended Windsor Castle to receive the Queen’s Police Medal – an experience he labelled as the pinnacle of a wonderful 30-year career.
He described his emotions as “proud” and “humble”, and paid tribute to his wife, Tania, and their daughters, Emily and Evie, for their patience and support over the years.
Wiltshire Police Chief Constable Kier Pritchard said: “Bob has been an outstanding colleague over the years and has made a huge difference in the VAWG space.
“He had a transformative impact on the way the Force handles investigations into rapes and serious sexual offences.
“He worked tirelessly to improve the victim’s experience, all the way from the point of first contact with officers through to their experience through the Criminal Justice System.
“The Queen’s Police Medal is a just honour for the selfless career that Bob had and the hours and hours of work he put in to improving the experiences and outcomes for victims of rape and serious sexual offences.”