COUNTY NEWS: Sussex Police officer honoured with OBE

A Sussex Police officer who has gone '˜above and beyond' to help people suffering with mental ill health has been awarded an OBE.

Mental health liaison officer Sarah Gates, based in Crawley, has been recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours for her ten years of dedicated service to those struggling with mental health issues.

Sarah has been at the forefront in delivering programmes such as placing nurses to work in police custody, street triage, provision of places of safety and the review of the Mental Health Codes of Practice.

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Chief Superintendent Diane Roskilly was one of the officers who nominated her and said: “Sarah has worked tirelessly to improve the experience of people who come into contact with the police or criminal justice system and are suffering with mental health.

“Through her sheer determination, drive and interpersonal skills, she has driven a cultural change, improving how we and our partners work together.

“Nothing is ever too much for Sarah and through her positive approach she has made a real difference to people’s lives. It is a privilege and joy to work with her.”

Chief Constable Giles York echoed Diane Roskilly’s sentiments: “All the force will support this recognition for an individual who has gone above and beyond to make the experiences for those suffering mental health crises significantly better. Huge congratulations to Sarah Gates, OBE.”

Sarah said she felt stunned: “I had absolutely no idea I had been nominated so I was utterly shocked when I received a letter from the Cabinet Office informing me of the honour. I am completely overwhelmed and totally delighted.

“Receiving this honour means everything to me, but it also means that we can be proud of what we have achieved in Sussex Police and how far we have come in terms of partnership.

“I am proud to work with colleagues who also support the mental health agenda and who I hold in the highest esteem. For them to want to nominate me and think I’m doing an ok job means even more to me. I am truly grateful to them all.”

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