Last week Police Sport UK, supported by TeamPolice, held the first National Police Sports Awards in Manchester. The event was generously sponsored by our headline sponsor Axon with individual awards kindly sponsored by FujitsuPolice Credit UnionXPS Administration and TeamPolice.

At the event several awards of excellence from 2020 were presented to those individuals who as well as playing sport have supported, encouraged and contributed to both sport and the police community over the years.

See below for details of award winners and their citations.  We salute you all.

Ken Meanwell

Ken has been involved in police football for over 28 years having become the co-ordinator for Lincolnshire Police Football Team in 1990. In 1993, Ken took up the role of Secretary of Lincolnshire Police Sports Club and the Police Sport UK Football Section.

He has organised the inter-force football competition in the UK for 25 years and in doing so has provided police officers and police staff the opportunity to play sport. To support the competition he has raised sponsorship to ensure its long term sustainability.

In addition, he has organised the UK team for entry in to the USPE Championships on five occasions and has attended three championship finals, including the most recent in Prague in 2018. As well as being an avid Lincoln City fan, Ken is currently the treasurer of the PSUK Football section where he continues to provide guidance and support.

Ken is a stalwart of the PSUK Football Section and has demonstrated his commitment over many years. He has given his own time and in some cases his own money to ensure that players have been able to attend, play matches and enjoy competitive sport thereby supporting the wellbeing of all involved.

Ken has ensured that the UK Police Football Section has discharged its duties in a professional manner and with his commitment, drive and support its success is a testament to him. He is very much held in high regard by his colleagues, players and coaching staff and in our opinion is a worthy nomination for a citation.

It is because of Ken that the UK Police football has thrived. His dedication and personal commitment over so many years has been inspirational. It is not an exaggeration to state that without Ken UK Police football would not exist in its current form. It is worthy of note and very much supportive of this nomination that at the last USPE Football Championships, Ken was awarded a USPE Merit award for his services to police football.

Ken is highly recommended for this citation by the senior administration of the UK Police Sport Football section.

Simon Cole

Simon Cole would cheerfully admit he is not a great tennis player, but when viewed through the prism of the ability of sport to be a unifying theme talent is, in fact, no substitute for enthusiasm and this Simon has in abundance.

Growing up in Leicestershire Simon had a keen interest in many sports and this stayed with him when he joined the police service, initially with West Midlands Police, then Hampshire and now his home county of Leicestershire. At a time when the pressures on Chief Officers have never been greater, and many pay lip service to the benefits of police sport, Simon displays as real passion and can be truly said to ‘put his money where his mouth is’. In his home force he is an active member of the Leicestershire tennis section and regularly carves time out of his busy schedule of to play matches for them.

But where he has really made his mark is on the national stage, where he has been chair of the PSUK tennis section since 2005. In this role he has been an exemplar of what an active ‘Chair ‘ should look like. He has only missed one national championship during his chairmanship and, in addition, has also found the time to support the Mens and Ladies teams in representative matches, both in he UK and overseas during the USPE tennis championships. Of equal importance, he has been an excellent advocate for police tennis at PSUK Council.

He is unusual amongst section chairs in that he has also qualified for a number of nationals as a player in his own right, insisting on paying his way as a competitor rather than accepting a ‘paid for’ place that is usually reserved for Chairs. Both on and off court his conduct is marked by a generosity of spirit and an infectious belief that it really is taking part that counts’.

As Chair he manages the business of the section well, willingly taking actions upon himself when others might delegate and always seeking opportunities to promote the section and recognise its successes. Given the example he has set it is no surprise that the section has gone from strength to strength in the past decade; 2018 saw the nationals staged in Belfast and the 2019 nationals in Norwich saw one of the largest draws in living memory. As if tennis were not enough, Simon also chairs the PSUK Rugby Union and Cricket sections, giving them the same level of support and attention.

Most Awards of Excellence are granted in recognition of players who have won multiple titles over many years and have reached the pinnacle of the game. Simon’s is different, but no less significant. Through his leadership and enthusiasm he has seen the tennis section thrive when other areas of police sport have been imperilled and, in so doing, he has provided the foundations has enabled both the great players to excel and also for those who just enjoy playing the game to have fun and enjoy the health benefits and comradeship that police sport brings. He is a worthy winner of this award.

Neil Mitchell

British Police RFC would like to recommend Neil Mitchell our Director of Rugby for an Award of Excellence. Neil originally served in West Midlands Police between 1985 and 2015 where he was, amongst other things, a firearms officer.

Neil has played rugby to the very highest of levels. As a professional player he represented Moseley RFC (1996-2001), Coventry RFC (2001-3) and between 2003 and 2005 he represented Stourbridge RFC for whom he is the current Director of Rugby. Neil also represented the Scottish Exiles between 1996 and 2002; he captained the Exiles between 2000 and 2002.

Neil has had an outstanding British Police Rugby career. He represented British Police as a player between 1997 and 2007. He captained British Police for six seasons between 2000 and 2006. Neil is one of only eight people in the history of British Police Rugby to achieve 50 caps or more. Having completed his playing career Neil has been a keen member of the British Police Rugby Committee since 2009 and has taken on the mantle as British Police Director of Rugby.

Neil also represented the Barbarians in 2001. Neil’s achievements as a player and a Director of Rugby are of the highest level. Having left policing to take up a career within Rugby and to run his own business Neil has continued to commit to British Police Rugby. His achievements are unique. There is nobody else who has achieved more than 50 caps for British Police and then gone on to be Director of Rugby for more games than he played in the first place. He has been at the core of British Police Rugby for a quarter of a century.

Neil is also a qualified coach. As well as being the BPRFC Director of Rugby since 2006 Neil is also the Director of Rugby at Stourbridge RFC (since 2004) and coached the forwards of the Scottish Exiles Junior team between 1999 and 2003. Neil is a widely respected Rugby figure. HIs achievements are without parallel in the British Police Rugby Section.

It is my strong view as Chairman that his quarter of a century of service to British Police Rugby more than qualifies him for an Award of Excellence

Jason Dawson

Jason Dawson is an accomplished and multi-talented sportsman. As a junior in South Wales he was coached to a high standard mixing tennis with football, twin passions that have endured to this day.

He joined the Metropolitan Police in 1988 at a time when police sport was thriving and made the most of the opportunities that were provided. He very quickly became a member of the MPS Tennis Section and played his first representative match for the force shortly thereafter. Despite the passage of time his enthusiasm for Met tennis has not dimmed; he captained the side for many years from the late 1990’s and has also held the posts of Secretary and Treasurer. He was part of the organising committee when the Met hosted the nationals at Wimbledon in 1995 and in 2011 was a central figure in the organising committee in when the Met again hosted the nationals.

Given his level of ability he soon became a regular face at the nationals. He won his first national title, in the mixed doubles with Leslie Neal, in 1993 in Bournemouth, a feat that was repeated the year after in Nottingham. He won his first PAA Mens doubles title with David Reed in 1996 and has lifted this trophy aloft on 3 further occasions. His most recent successes have come in the Mixed doubles, where playing with Susheel Gulati he won the title 3 consecutive years from 2015-2018. He has also twice made the final of the Mens Veteran doubles, but did not emerge on the winning side on either of these occasions.

It was not long before he a a regular face in the PAA, now PSUK, tennis team, an association that continues to this day, almost three decades later. All of the past Captains of the PAA/PSUK Mens team have commented on Jason’s reliability, his genial nature and the fact he is a superb team player. In 2011, he was selected as the ‘over 35’ player in the UPSE European Police Tennis championships in what, at the time, was a trial event. It was therefore not surprising that when Roger Clarke stepped down as Captain in 2016 that Jason was the logical choice to succeed him. Under his leadership the team continues to thrive.

Aside from police tennis, Jason is a qualified coach. In this capacity he had freely given of his time to support community based tennis programmes in Hertfordshire and, since his retirement, now coaches more frequently. Whilst Jason has made the most of the opportunities that police sport has presented, through his commitment, enthusiasm and ‘big heart’ he has given back far, far more and stands as a role model for future generations of police tennis players. He thoroughly deserves this award of excellence.

Vanessa Calafat

Vanessa Calafat joined Metropolitan Police in 2004 and made her mark at PSUK level almost straight away. Well before joining the Police Service Vanessa had a very distinguished sporting career as a youth Basketball player in Spain and also as a senior player in England and Australia. Vanessa first started playing basketball at the age of 13 whilst in her native Spain and was playing streetball when she was asked to join a team in Palma de Mallorca.

At the age of 15 Vanessa was selected to join the Spanish team as a junior and whilst training with them was offered a scholarship with Dorna Godella, a top mainland Spanish team playing in the Euro League. Unfortunately Vanessa had to turn this offer down but continued to play in the 1st regional division in Mallorca where her team won the divisional title on many occasions. A torn ACL in her right knee cut short Vanessa’s top level playing career.

Vanessa attended university in the UK aged 18 and started playing basketball again for Spelthorne Acers and then Thames Valley Tigers who were the National Championship runners up in 1998. Vanessa then moved on to Brighton Bears and continued to play for them in Division 2 for a few seasons.
Vanessa then travelled to Australia where she played basketball in Sydney for 1 year before returning to the UK and joining Metropolitan Police.

Vanessa’s basketball talent was quickly recognised and she was invited to join the PSUK GB Women’s Basketball Team on their trip to Cyprus in 2005 to showcase women’s basketball as a USPE Event.
Vanessa continued to represent PSUK Women’s Basketball at a national level and in 2009 she was selected to represent PSUK in the first Women’s USPE held in Sheffield where the team won the bronze medal. Vanessa was also selected to represent PSUK in the 2nd USPE Women’s Basketball Finals in Ireland in 2011.

Vanessa was a member of the very successful Metropolitan Police Women’s Basketball team that won 7 PSUK National Finals in a row from 2008-2014. Vanessa was awarded National Finals MVP on 3 consecutive occasions from 2009-2011 and has been named in the tournament All Star 5 numerous times. Vanessa was also awarded her colours for representing PSUK GB Women’s Basketball at a national and international level in 2010.

Until last year Vanessa was playing division 2 basketball but a torn meniscus in her right knee meant another injury time out from that, however Vanessa did make a comeback to PSUK National Finals in 2019 following 2 years out through injury and she was again named as one of the tournament All Star 5 players.

Throughout her Police service Vanessa has given her time to Police basketball as a player at National and International level and is always promoting Police sport in a positive way. The PSUK basketball section feels that Vanessa Calafat is more than a worthy candidate for the ‘Award of Excellence’.

 

Simon Young
  • British Police CC Debut 1995 v British Army
  • Retired July 2011v Royal Air Force
  • Caps 44 (9th highest in the history of BPCC)
  • Current role 2012 – present: BPCC Assistant manager

Simon retired from playing 2011 at the same time as David Fraser-Darling (Notts) and Graham Shaw (Cleveland) at Sandicare CC (Derbyshire). Between them they represented the Club on a total of 246 occasions.

Since that time Simon has been ever-present on the annual BPCC Tour as part of the management team giving up 5 days of his annual leave time to support the team both on and off the field as they prepared for matches. He has always shown a positive outlook despite some disappointing results over the past few seasons and offering his support and advice to all members of the squad as and when required.
Not only has he been a valuable assistant to BPCC during Tour week he has always made himself available for chats and discussions regarding selection and other issues during the winter months.
He has already confirmed he is more than willing to make himself available to assist the new venture starting in 2020 when BPCC Ladies Team will play its first ever fixtures during a mini Tour week.

Simon has demonstrated a true commitment to PSUK Cricket at Force, National and Committee level for many years. Aside from his playing career his enthusiasm with regards to all things Police Cricket stands out over the years of playing and organising in which he has been involved.

He offers his considered thoughts on how the British Police squad/tour should be conducted, is a voice of reason regarding improvements to (and success of) the National Championships and balanced opinions regarding playing standards.

Simon has made himself available to assist with the day to day management of the British Police Cricket week for many years now and has now further volunteered his services having retired from the Metropolitan Police in 2019, which will help to share the load. He is a respected voice when selecting the squad each year.

His warmth, calm, dry humoured, knowledgeable manner make him so approachable, likable and respected by all who share his company. He is very much a ‘team’ man who is always looking to the future with one eye to the past to ensure the standards, traditions and etiquette are not lost. His achievements are remarkable, and span almost a quarter of a century.

He is well deserving of an award of excellence.