Met Police honours Victim Navigators for ‘exceptional’ work

January 11, 2024

Two of Justice and Care’s Victim Navigators have been honoured with a Metropolitan Police Service Public Protection Award commendation.

The Navigators were recognised this week for their ‘outstanding contribution’ in helping the force to fight modern slavery – with the partnership said to have ‘yielded outcomes that are nothing short of exceptional’.

Our frontline workers have been specifically praised for their ‘critical work’ on Operation Pontalina, a sexual exploitation case that resulted in an exploiter receiving a 31 year custodial sentence.

Detective Sergeant Emma Rickard was also honoured for her integral role in embedding the Navigators, who empower survivors to rebuild their lives and work with the police to bring perpetrators to justice.

Public Protection Award commendations are given in recognition of a high level of bravery or levels of professionalism carrying out duties in a manner significantly above that which would normally be expected.

Detective Sergeant Stuart Jack, who led the investigation into Operation Pontalina, has said the ‘difference the Navigators made to the lives of so many vulnerable people cannot be overstated’.

‘I wanted to highlight the absolutely critical work that has been carried out by the Victim Navigators assigned to this case’, he said. 

‘I can’t overstate the importance of their role and their work over two years in supporting the complainants in this case. Their work has been nothing short of exceptional, and I put the fact that complainants have been able to give evidence as solely down to support offered by them.

‘Their work has allowed the officers investigating the case to focus and progress what has amounted to hundreds of lines of enquiry as we have prepared for trial over the last 24 months… It is a privilege to witness people that are so passionate about what they do and are so determined to seek justice for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.’

Since they were embedded in the Met three years ago, our two Navigators have helped 96 survivors; 38 of them have been supported during trials, with many of them bravely giving evidence. This has resulted in prison sentences totalling 166 years (including concurrent sentences).

The two Navigators have also provided strategic advice in relation to another 56 cases, supported six victim reception centres, and provided training to 414 officers.