THE POLICE officer whose perseverance helped crack the region's long-running 'shoe rapist' investigation has picked up a prestigious award at a new national ceremony honouring the country's best coppers.
Detective Inspector Sue Hickman (pictured) collected first prize in the Crime Investigation category at the Airwave Police Professional Awards in London last month for her work on Operation Nightingale - a cold-case review of the series of stranger rapes that blighted the 1980s.
Serial sex attacker James Lloyd, of Thurnscoe, who stole shoes from his victims as trophies, was convicted last year after the then detective sergeant reprioritised ‘hits’ on the familial DNA and commenced a series of personal visits - triggering a chain of events that lead to his prosecution.
Judge Cliff Dixon, a former deputy chief constable, said: “Despite the time elapsed between offending and being caught, the impact on the community was very strong. The coverage in the media following the conviction is testament to the impact that it had, especially on the confidence that the public has in the professionalism of the police.”
DI Hickman collected her award from Olympic gold medal hero Dame Kelly Holmes who praised each of the seven winners - four of whom came from Yorkshire and Humberside.
“These unsung heroes and heroines have all in their own way contributed to making our communities safer,” she said.
“They represent all that is good about policing and their contributions cannot be under estimated.”