Portishead woman awarded MBE
By Prue_Reid | Monday, December 31, 2012, 15:45
A Portishead grandmother was awarded an MBE (member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in the New Year's Honours for her work with the police force.
Kathy Ford MBE
Avon & Somerset Constabulary head of corporate information services Kathy Ford has worked for the police for the past 22 years with responsibility for setting up the 1998 Data Protection Act and implementing the Bichard Report and the Freedom of Information Act in 2000.
Kathy said: "When in late November I received a letter marked 'Urgent' from the Cabinet Office, I wondered what I had done!
"After opening the letter I was shocked to read that I had been honoured with an MBE.
"I find it amazing that I can receive this award for doing something I have thoroughly enjoyed every single day for the more than 22 years and coming towards the end of my career.
"It is a wonderful conclusion to my career with Avon and Somerset police."
Kathy joined Avon and Somerset Police in June 1990 as part of the systems audit unit.
When the force was restructured in 1992 and police officer posts were civilianised, Kathy was appointed force data protection Officer with a team of two staff replacing a post previously held by a chief inspector.
The unit 'grew' into a department in 2004 becoming responsible for force vetting, security of information, audit, records review/records management, the Data Protection Act 1998, FoI Act 2000 and criminal records bureau.
As well as her achievements for Avon and Somerset, Kathy has been a member of various national ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) committees relating to information management since 1996 and was involved in the drafting of Security of Information and Implementation of Protective Marking for the police service.
She was also involved in the compilation and submission of evidence on behalf of the police service to the Bichard Inquiry 2004, following the Soham murders in Suffolk.
Internationally she assisted with a comprehensive programme of data protection training and development to the Czech Police/Law Enforcement Agencies in order to assist with their accession to the European Union in 2002 and also worked on behalf of the States of Jersey and Guernsey Police Forces to ensure their lawful use of the PNC.
Kathy was a founder member of the ACPO Data Protection, Freedom of Information and Records Management Portfolio Group and holds the portfolio for Disclosure and Information Sharing and is currently working on CAFCASS, Victim Support and Troubled Families.
She said: "Information is the lifeblood of any organisation and it is essential that Avon and Somerset's information is accurate, relevant, kept up to date and readily available to those that need it to protect children and the vulnerable.
"It would have been impossible for me to carry out my duties with the police – at both a local and national level – without the dedication of my excellent staff and support of both the chief officer group and the director of information for the Association of Chief Police Officers."
Away from work Kathy has been married for 43 years and she and husband Mike have two daughters and a nine-year-old grandson.
In what free time she has available Kathy enjoys keeping fit and foreign travel.
Chief Constable Colin Port said: "I'm delighted that Kathy has been recognised and honoured by Her Majesty the Queen.
"Kathy has been a stalwart in protecting the public and our organisation, not only on a local basis but she has also advised nationally with her expertise.
"She is an acknowledged leading expert, who has been unstinting in her public service."