Officers commended for outstanding public service

30 June 2017

Several officers are today receiving Commendations from Director General Lynne Owens in recognition of their exemplary contribution to our mission of protecting the public.

The annual Director General’s Commendations ceremony recognises and celebrates innovation and outstanding work of officers from across the agency.

For operational reasons we cannot name all the officers receiving Commendations today, but we have selected a number of stories that reflect the diverse background and work areas of the officers being recognised.

These citations stand as a testament to the dedication and capability of all those receiving awards today.

Darryl Sears

Darryl is being recognised for his role of lead financial investigator on Operation Luster. This operation was an investigation into the laundering of cash by Umer Rasheed through his London-based money service bureau.

The investigation required painstaking analysis of vast amounts of records that were seized from Rasheed. This included handwritten notes in Urdu, hours of CCTV and falsified customer identity records.

Darryl spent weeks examining these records and was able to demonstrate in court that when the handwritten notes recorded the receipt of a large amount of cash, and that the company details were falsified.

The Crown Prosecution Service lawyer described Darryl as one of the most effective investigators she had met. She said he worked tirelessly and was unfailingly level-headed, rational and enthusiastic – a winning combination.

Darryl has consistently produced some impressive results and he fully deserves this recognition for the commitment and diligence he has demonstrated.

Bess the Search Dog

Bess, the agency’s very first search dog, was licensed as a search dog in 2010 and has been deployed on thousands of occasions supporting the NCA and partner operations.

During this time, she has been detected over £2.4 million in cash, over 350kgs of Class A drugs, over a tonne of Class B drugs as well as 12 firearms.

Bess has deployed in support of operations across the NCA and besides overt searching of premises, vehicles, aircraft and vessels, she has also undertaken surveillance support and covert deployments. In the best traditions of the NCA she has also provided a great deal of support to partners. She has searched high profile venues such as Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Parliament, and she has also appeared on TV and at charity events.

Bess retired last year having given 7 dog years of exemplary service – in excess of 49 in human years. She has been succeeded by a new search dog, Lottie.

Operation CARAPAX

Lead by Matt Sutton, the Operation Carapax team lead a successful investigation into indecent assaults, rape and child sexual abuse committed in Thailand and the UK by Mark Frost, a 70 year old UK national. Due to the weight of evidence secured by the investigation team, Frost pleaded guilty to 45 offences and received 13 life sentences and will serve a minimum of 16 years in prison.

This investigation has been an exceptional enquiry. All those involved have displayed the highest standards of professionalism and commitment. They have faced unique challenges but have remained resilient and focussed which enabled them to deliver a level of service that has secured the trust and confidence of numerous traumatised victims to report historic abuse and support prosecutions.

This enquiry has enabled the team to work together not only within the NCA but also with European and Thai partners which has cemented our close working relationships and enabled all those involved to gain a greater understanding of international working practicing. Each of these officers thoroughly deserves this recognition.

Lead financial investigator

An officer who was the lead financial investigator and successfully brought about the innovative prosecution of two cannabis cultivators has been honoured with a Director General’s Commendation. Following an initial conviction, it was later discovered in correspondence seized that one of the offenders had hidden financial assets. Through hard work and tenacity, the officer tracked down and seized the original assets mentioned in the first letter found and then was able to trace other companies used to import goods and the source of the funds transmitted to purchase them.

The cultivators were arrested again and charged with perverting the course of justice and laundering the proceeds of their drug trafficking. This was only possible through the officers dedication to the case, working extended hours and weekends to put the case together.

At the trial, the Judge commended the officer for the ‘Herculean task in investigating the matter’.

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