‘Empowering Women to Thrive’ this International Women’s Day

Twenty members of the Queensland Police Service (QPS) have been recognised for their outstanding work at the annual International Women’s Day awards ceremony.

awards ceremony photo

This year’s event, themed Empowering women to thrive, was hosted by the QPS and held at the Royal International Convention Centre in Bowen Hills.

The event hosted three keynote speakers, as well as the presentation of awards to partner agencies Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) and Queensland Corrective Services (QCS).

Across the 11 ‘Women in Policing’ award categories, 20 women were acknowledged for their outstanding achievements.

Some of these categories included the Trailblazer Award, Mentor of the Year Award, Integrity and Courage Award and Most Outstanding Female Leader.

Among today’s award recipients was Police Liaison Officer, PLO Barbara Costello, who was recognised with the Integrity and Courage Award, which recognises an individual who has sought a resolution that brought about significant change and positive impact.

With fluency in multiple First Nations languages, PLO Costello’s work helps bridge cultural gaps to ensure effective communication and understanding, ultimately supporting investigations and promoting cultural competency.

Barbara’s unwavering commitment to fostering strong bonds between the community and law enforcement is exceptional and her integrity, courage and tireless work ethic is inspirational.

Fellow award recipient, Ms Carmen Walkers was awarded the Most Outstanding Female Administrator Award, which recognises one’s ability to provide effective, gender-sensitive administration, as well as supporting and providing guidance to members of the Service, particularly women.

Carmen was presented this award for her successful delivery of several high profile and critical wellbeing programs to QPS members in incredibly tight timeframes, including the SelfRefer Psych program in 2022, and the SelfRefer Physio pilot in 2023.

Carmen worked tirelessly to onboard new mental health practitioners to ensure access to immediate mental health support, following tragic incidents including the Wieambilla murders and the Sea World helicopter crash.

Alongside these awards, seven awards for ‘Women in Queensland Fire and Emergency Services’ and three awards for ‘Queensland Corrective Services International Women’s Day’ were awarded, further recognising the outstanding achievements of women who work in public safety and integrity agencies.

The annually recurring event today celebrated the outstanding efforts of many women across emergency and public safety services, as well as provided attendees the opportunity to network with partner agencies of the Leading Women Network.

All proceeds raised at the event will be presented to Open Haven, a Queensland based support service for long-term domestic and family violence (DFV) female survivors, providing post-crisis intervention.

In attendance was Acting Commissioner Steve Gollschewski, who recognised the outstanding efforts of the women in our community.

“It is with great pleasure that we come together today, for International Women’s Day, recognising the outstanding efforts of women in our community, making a difference and striving for change,” he said.

“Today, we recognise the exceptional efforts of women in our community, by awarding the Queensland Police Service ‘Women in Policing’ awards for outstanding displays of leadership, integrity, courage and change made by these women in our communities.

“It is a testament to the strong women in the Queensland Police Service, that we have over 20 award recipients, and we honour the achievements of these recipients today.

“It is important that we continue embracing the diversity and inclusion of women everywhere, ’empowering women to thrive’, both current and future.”

The QPS award recipients were:

  • Trailblazer Award:
    • Jill Clark
  • Mentor of the Year Award:
    • Senior Constable Lauren Gray
  • Integrity and Courage Award:
    • Police Liaison Officer Barbara Costello
    • Torres Strait Islander Police Liaison Officers Millie Stephen and Akausha Savage
  • Most Outstanding Female Leader:
    • Sergeant Leslie Anderson
  • Most Outstanding Female Investigator:
    • Detective Senior Constable Jasmin Barros
  • Most Outstanding Female Practitioner:
    • Sergeant Beth Fletcher
    • Sergeant Lisa Hillary
  • Most Outstanding Female Administrator:
    • Ms Carmen Walters
  • Most Outstanding Female Intelligence Practitioner:
    • Ms Tracey Abbott
  • Excellence in Law Enforcement for Women Initiative:
    • Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce / Commission of Inquiry Implementation Team
      • Acting Superintendent Michael Ede
      • Acting Inspector Jacquie McLeod
      • Acting Senior Sergeant Selina Arthur
      • Mel Akroyd
      • Aleisha Broomhall
      • Sarah Joslin
      • Vanessa Campbell
      • Acting Senior Sergeant Sarah Ellis
      • Dee Falzon
  • Champion of Change Award:
    • Plain Clothes Senior Constable Suzanne Whitaker

A career within the Queensland Police Service is like no other. From protecting, responding, and investigating, to supporting, rescuing and learning – the sheer variety of roles make it both a challenging and rewarding career.

As a police officer, you can have one career that has endless possibilities. Now really is the best time to join.

Visit PoliceRecruit.qld.gov.au to kickstart your policing career and make a positive impact in your community.

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