Police constables Emily Thomas and Marc Jackson have been awarded an outstanding teamwork award for their work on rural crime.

Up until October 2020, they were the only officers in the rural crime team but despite this, they still managed to work well together in challenging circumstances and create innovative projects that their bosses say have laid a solid foundation for the future.

In 2019, they noted that drones would be a useful tool in the fight against illegal hare coursing and poachers.

They arranged drone training and secured funding with help from the National Farmers’ Union and English Heritage for the team to buy its own drone.

The pair worked hard to raise the profile of rural crime across the force, particularly on the best ways to deal with illegal hare coursing. Their work, advice and guidance led to more suspects being arrested for this type of crime and the rural community becoming more satisfied with the police’s work.

Through their engagement and sourcing more funding, Emily and Marc ensured that the force now has more than 40 officers and staff trained as wildlife crime officers who are actively taking on and assisting in investigating incidents.

A spokesman said: “We want to thank them for the commitment, hard work and dedication they have shown to their role.”

The award for outstanding innovation and creativity went to PC Ben Pierrepoint for developing a new tool to help find missing people.

While working within the Digital Investigations and Intelligence Unit, Ben thought up a concept for the new kit and started researching technical specifications and legislation.

He then broadened he capability of the product by working with the force’s drone team. This allowed him to gather essential weight considerations that could then be factored into the product build. He visited a highly technical regional unit to discuss the model and they were equally impressed by his ideas and creativity.

The product has been tested, adapted and used numerous times in deployments this year. The concept caught the attention of regional colleagues who asked Ben to support them in developing the product within their own areas.

The police spokesman added: “PC Pierrepont created, developed, built and deployed an entirely new tool which is already proving invaluable when assistance is required for high-risk missing people.

“His desire to utilise technology in new and innovative ways is commendable and shows his willingness to go the extra mile.”