Detention Officer named Armed Forces Champion 2022
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A Detention Officer has been recognised by The Armed Forces Network for his dedication to supporting members of the armed forces community.
Whether they be fellow staff members or officers, or service personnel we come into contact with in the course of investigations, DO Darren Andrews has been looking to work with them to support them and improve situations for them.
Having served in the Grenadier Guards for 13 years, and been with Hampshire Constabulary for 18 years, Darren became a Service Champion in May 2021.
The role, which he undertakes alongside his day job in Southampton Custody, sees him providing support and advice to those with an armed forces background or links to people in the forces.
This can range from helping someone who has been arrested to get the support they need moving forward, to providing advice to fellow staff who may have family in the military or be former service personnel themselves.
At the Armed Forces Network's Together We Can Make a Difference conference earlier this month, held in Brighton, Darren was recognised as an Armed Forces Champion 2022.
He said: "It was completely unexpected to receive the award, I was surprised when I was called the week before and told that I was I was receiving it.
"Over the last 18 months, I have been really pushing the Armed Forces Champion role and have had lots of help and support from people to do this.
"We have now trained 42 people across Hampshire Constabulary to be champions, and they are based around the county.
"I have sat with people in custody who have recognised tattoos I have as being military related, and that starts a conversation with them.
"Anyone we come into contact with, whether members of the public or staff, who have armed forces links goes onto a spreadsheet so we can keep a track and provide the right support.
"Through links I have been able to build up with other partners, like the council for example, I can point people in the right direction to get help and support when they need it and help them get on the right track.
"Even within the force, I am able to provide advice and support for colleagues, like, for example, when they may have a partner in the military and they are trying to get leave to coincide with them returning from being away for a period on exercises."
Darren received his award from the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Andrew Blackman.
His citation read: "Darren has been a driving force in moving this work forward within Hampshire Constabulary and we are grateful for his support and active engagement.
"Since attending the training he has pushed for more members of staff from Hampshire Constabulary to become Service Champions; raising the awareness for and supporting those who are from the Armed Forces community whether they are other officers or 'visitors' through the custody suite."