Salvation Army officer receives Met Police commendation
published on 17 Oct 2022
A Salvation Army officer who leads a support service for individuals in the sex industry and modern-day slavery has been honoured by The Metropolitan Police.
Captain Annmarie Gifford has been in charge at Faith House since 2013 and received a commendation for ‘Dedication, Commitment and Devotion to Duty’ for safeguarding vulnerable women from DCS Caroline Haines, North Area Borough Commander, at a special ceremony last month.
She was nominated by Sergeant Ian Davey, Met Police lead for Operation Boxster – a specialised unit in NA for working with the issue of Prostitution.
The citation praised Annmarie’s ‘tireless dedication and expert assistance in safeguarding and diverting vulnerable females’ and went on to say that she has been ‘instrumental in establishing, developing and advancing excellent partnership work.’
Annmarie gave more detail on the vital work she and the team at Faith House do to protect these women and steer them away from activity which places them at risk of harm.
She said: “Many are facing a range of circumstances such as a lack of education or job opportunities, addiction issues, housing problems, dependents and the cost of living. These are just some of the barriers these individuals face including a continuing discrimination because of negative stereotyping”
“With housing now for example, we have an emergency specific pathway for these woman – they need to have somewhere safe to begin to access other services they might need. We also have a mobile phone budget so we can link these women to these services and they can be responsive. There is no chance of them moving forward unless they feel safe in the present.”
Although Annmarie was awarded the commendation personally, she acknowledged that partnership working is key. She said staff at Faith House work with organisations including NHS SHOC, Streetlight, The Terrence Higgins Trust, Enable and The Metropolitan Police.
She said: “We all have a similar role about increasing safety but a different role about building trusted relationships. The police practise enforcement and safeguarding together treating the women in a constructive and fair way which has led to a change in behaviour.”
“We also need to think about the needs of the wider community. If we can get the individuals we know to start thinking about their own safety and wellbeing, it will also lead to an increased sense of wellbeing and safety for the community as a whole.”
The citation acknowledges Annmarie as the unofficial outreach coordinator for Enfield, saying she is available to police officers, charities and NHS colleagues at the end of the phone, while ensuring the safety of the vulnerable females is at the heart of the interactions.
The citation said Annmarie’s expertise and practical thinking has generated great interest within the Metropolitan Police and overseas police forces while she has also taken part in international research.
Annmarie was pleased to receive the commendation and said she was sure it would help the Faith House team to continue delivering support to workers in the sex industry and modern-day slavery victims.
She added: “This will increase the strength of the ability to network and increase our ability to continue supporting those on the ground.”
Annmarie said she wanted to pay tribute to the staff and volunteers at Faith House and stressed she wouldn’t have got the commendation without them. Annmarie explained: “I wouldn’t be able to do without them and they are trusted just as much as I am. I’d also like to thank the officers from Operation Boxster as we wouldn’t be in the place we are in without them.”
Major Janine Lewis, Divisional Mission Enabler and Temitope Otesile, Programme Coordinator at Faith House accompanied her to the ceremony.