The outstanding dedication and professionalism of a Met traffic officer has been recognised with an award at a ceremony in central London.
Detective Constable Ian Payne, from the Met's Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC) at Catford Traffic Garage was this year's winner of the Livia Award for Professionalism and Service to Justice, at a ceremony at Portcullis House, Westminster on Wednesday, 2 November. He received the trophy and a message from the Prime Minister.
The ceremony was cross-party, hosted by Mark Pawsey MP, Stephen Twigg MP and Greg Mulholland MP and the awards were presented by the Under Secretary of State for Transport, the Road Safety Minister Andrew Jones MP.
Ian, who originally joined the MPS in 1984, was unanimously judged the outstanding candidate for his dedication and professionalism to investigating fatal and serious injury collisions, fulfilling the role of a Family Liaison Officer (FLO) on some of the most complex and sensitive cases and his endeavours to bring about a reform in legislation in how some drink drive fatality cases are dealt with in the judicial system.
The law as it stands requires the prosecutor to show that the driver is not only over the drink drive limit, but also that his driving is careless or dangerous.
Over the past three years, Ian has strived for more stringent legislation in relation to drink driving that has resulted in a death, gaining support from MPs. In February, he was informed by the Ministry of Justice that the Justice Secretary will begin a consultation on sentencing reform, which will incorporate driving offences.
Runner-up Detective Constable Richard Clark, collision investigator from Merton Traffic Garage, received the Livia Highly Commended Certificate in recognition of his consistently high standards of professionalism and dedication to the investigation of serious and fatal road traffic collisions.
In the last 12 months Richard, who joined the MPS in 1995 and became a forensic collision investigator in 2003, has worked on a number of high profile and protracted cases, two of which were praised for particularly detailed work:
- A fatality on A4 Great West Road, involving the death of a 31-year-old pedestrian in which Richard conducted a series of tests that proved the driver had been travelling at between 69 and 74 mph in a 40 mph zone. This evidence and a detailed investigation by a colleague (and fellow winner in this category) led to the driver pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving. He was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison and disqualified from driving for 10 years.
- A fatality at St Anns Villas, W11, involving the death of a 62-year-old motorcyclist and a car that failed to stop at the scene. Richard's experience and eye for detail proved invaluable as he retrieved plastic components from the vehicle which he later forensically linked to clothing worn by the suspect using a process known as fibre fusion.
The Livia Award was established in 1998 by George and Giulietta Galli-Atkinson following the death of their daughter Livia who was killed by a driver who mounted the pavement where she was walking. Endorsed by the Prime Minister and the Met Police Commissioner, the award is made annually to the Roads and Transport Policing Command officer judged to have provided the most meritorious service to road death investigation, either in a specific case or sustained through several investigations and who has provided the family of a road crash victim with outstanding commitment.
Commander Neil Jerome said: "I'm very proud to be able to congratulate this year's winners of the Livia Awards, which recognise the outstanding contributions made by road collision investigation officers from the Roads and Transport Policing Command.
"These officers, through professionalism, dedication and expertise provide an invaluable service to road safety which cannot be underestimated and this year's entries are up to the very high standard we have come to expect. All of the outcomes of their investigations bring justice, resolution and a small degree of conclusion to those who have been affected by road traffic collisions.
"I am conscious of the fact that we are deploying family liaison officers into families experiencing the worst possible tragedy. We are very grateful that this work has been acknowledged and very much appreciate the efforts of George and Giulietta Galli-Atkinson and their continued support of the RTPC."
Giulietta and George Galli-Atkinson said: "We are proud of all the officers nominated for the Livia Awards. They are exemplars of good practice and success in the collision investigation units of RTPC. We believe that they and their colleagues are the best in the world.
"This year's Livia Award winner is another milestone in the 18-year history of the award in that unusually he is also a campaigner, as well as a successful investigator and FLO. There is a section of law in drink-drive cases which requires separate evidence of the manner of driving that causes death or serious injury, however obvious it might be. This means that sentences in these cases can be exaggeratedly lenient, to the outrage of affected victims' families. Parliamentarians, amongst them Greg Mulholland and David Burrowes, steady supporters of the Livia Award, have also been trying for some time to alert government to the inadequate legislation. The addition of DC Payne's exasperated voice to this ongoing campaign is hugely significant and admirable. We thank him for his commitment and courage.
"Each year the panel of judges reports back on how difficult it is to have to select a winner, all candidates being so overtly dedicated to the criteria and ethos of The Livia Award. Thus, Livia's memory is also honoured, with our gratitude."