A founding member of the Police Firearms Officers Association who tirelessly devoted hours of her time to help officers and their families was recognised posthumously at The Defence Police Federation Awards.
Debbie Williams, who sadly died of cancer in June 2019, was named as the winner of the Friends of the Defence Police Federation Award at the ceremony last night.
Debbie’s husband Mark and daughter Rachel were presented the Award by DPF Secretary Mitch Batt and Welfare Officer Claire Batt MBE.
On stage, they announced that the award would now be renamed The Debbie Williams Award.
Debbie helped form the Police Firearms Officers Association in 2009 with her husband Mark Williams, who became CEO. She was later employed by the Association and supported and assisted hundreds of firearms officers and their families, even throughout her intensive cancer treatment. She also helped set up the Museum of Armed Policing, a project she was passionate about.
Debbie’s police career began in 1989 when she joined the Metropolitan Police, where she helped set up the Wandsworth Police Domestic Violence Unit. In 2002 she relocated to Cambridgeshire and went on to join Cambridgeshire Police as a PCSO, but was medically retired due to an ongoing back injury.
She spent much of her time helping others, including in the local community. She was a school governor, helped with the local cubs and scout groups, and was an active Standard Bearer for the Royal British Legion. Sadly, on 20 June 2019 she passed away with her family around her. Twenty Standard Bearers from the Royal British Legion attended her funeral, and the hearse was escorted by a Police Armed Response Vehicle.
Welfare Officer Claire Batt said: “The Defence Police Federation and the PFOA have worked collaboratively since 2015, providing our members & their families with bespoke product & services which in turn has helped them return to full operational capability sooner and more importantly keep them in the workplace when historically they would have struggled.
“Debbie Williams and her team were instrumental in making this work, she was utterly in tune with what officers and their families required, tailoring services to make them more personal and always ‘looking outside the box’.
“On a personal note being the welfare officer of a force can be very lonely, you are their for everyone needs & concerns but who is their for yours? Well in my case I was always able to call my friend, talk through an issue and get pragmatic useful advice back. I miss our chats greatly, Debbie had a skill set whereby she understood what you needed and in my case it wasn’t tea & sympathy it was more of a ‘buck up and get on with it approach’.
“Debbie through her work touched the life’s of many, she was inspirational, thoughtful & utterly selfless and thankfully due to her support and guidance her work will be instrumental in supporting members of the DPF for many years to come.”