Greater Manchester Police Detective receives “Rising Star” award at the first NPCC VAWG recognition event
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Detective Sergeant Ruth Thompson has been judged as the winning entry in the first National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing’s recognition event hosted in London for police officers, staff and volunteers who are working to tackle violence against women and girls.
DS Ruth Thompson won the rising star category following her efforts in leading a team of detectives who helped secure a 28-year sentence against a dangerous domestic abuser – Andrew Ellison (01/04/1977) of Searness Road in Middleton.
Operation Cardington, secured 24 years in prison plus a four-year extended licence period against the dangerous domestic abuser for the following offences against five female victims:
- six counts of rape
- six counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm
- four counts of putting a person in fear of violence by harassment
- four counts of false imprisonment
- two counts of assault by penetration
- two counts of making threats to kill
- one count of attempted sexual assault
- one count of inflicting grievous bodily harm
- one count of damaging property
- one count of exposure
Operation Cardington was first launched back in February 2022 following a catalogue of rape and domestic abuse and violence disclosures from a woman in her 30’s in Middleton in Rochdale.
Following Ellisons arrest on Thursday 31 March 2022, enquiries were made into his domestic history which unearthed a further four women who had been domestically abused by Ellison in separate relationships dating back to 1995.
With the support and bravery of all five victims, the Operation Cardington taskforce made up of detectives from Rochdale’s Crime Investigation Department dedicated their efforts to ensure all five victims receive justice and the support they needed.
Skilled and specially trained interviewers conducted two separate interviews with Ellison’s victims covering nearly 14 hours of audio. Over 60 witnesses provided Ruth’s team with statements with over 100 people being contacted across the North-West of England which provided GMP officers with a full range of information and data to be able to build a solid case against Ellison’s crimes.
The evidence gathered, analysed, and put forward to the Crown Prosecution Service resulted in the successful sentencing of Andrew Ellison and provided justice for all five women who suffered his horrific abuse.
Detective Sergeant Ruth Thompson of GMP's Rochdale district and winner of the NPCC ‘Rising Star’ award said: "I am incredibly happy and honoured to receive the Rising Star award at the first NPCC VAWG recognition event. This achievement wouldn't have been possible without the amazing team of detectives who supported me throughout Operation Cardington.
"I am immensely grateful for their dedication and hard work. But, most importantly, I want to express my profound gratitude to the five brave victims of domestic abuse who stood by us. Protecting survivors and seeking justice has been the driving force behind my work, and I truly love what I do. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those affected by domestic abuse and safeguard people across Greater Manchester.”
Superintendent Neil Jones, GMP’s Domestic Abuse Lead said: "From the moment the first victim bravely reported domestic abuse in February 2022, DS Ruth Thompson and her exceptional team of detectives embarked on an extraordinary mission to uncover the extent of Andrew Ellison's appalling offenses, unravelling a deeply disturbing pattern of abuse inflicted upon the first reported victim. They ensured that the survivor received the vital support following the horrific abuse he inflicted on her.
“Ruth and team demonstrated an unwavering commitment to their pursuit, leaving no stone unturned as they delved into Andrew Ellison's history of abusive relationships. Remarkably, they uncovered four more survivors who had endured his heinous abuse, reaching back to 1995.
“We owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude to all five women who, with incredible courage, supported this arduous case. Thanks to their collective bravery, Ruth and her team successfully built an ironclad case against an exceedingly dangerous individual, ultimately removing Ellison from our communities.
“Operation Cardington is not just a testament to investigative policing; it is a shining example of how a dedicated team can protect survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence. Ruth Thompson and her team's efforts are a beacon of hope, illustrating the profound impact of diligent and compassionate law enforcement.”
The recognition event was developed and judged jointly by police forces and representatives from charities including SafeLives, Suzy Lamplugh Trust and Karma Nirvana, alongside the Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales, Nicole Jacobs, and police staff associations. Over 140 entries were received which were initially judged regionally by police and third sector panels, before being put in front of a national panel who decided the 13 overall winners.
All winning entries had to demonstrate how they built trust and confidence, that their approach was victim-centred, and they had to show impact, including how they were pursuing perpetrators. Judges were impressed with the effectiveness of many of the entries, giving praise to those officers, staff and volunteers who listened to victims and survivors, and then shaped their activity accordingly.
Other winners include a campaign to tackle misogynistic and sexist behaviour internally (Avon and Somerset Police), reducing violent crime committed against sex workers (Cleveland Police), educational sessions for schools (West Midlands Police) and a survivor of rape who has helped Lincolnshire Police by telling her story of the criminal justice system to support other victims.
DCC Maggie Blyth, National Police Chiefs’ Council violence against women and girls’ coordinator, said: “Thank you to everyone who works in policing and whose focus is on making society safer for women and girls. Having regional and national judging panels made up of experts from inside and outside policing have really helped us to focus on winners who have demonstrated both an understanding of what victims want and expect, but also on activity that is sustainable.
“It’s only by modelling this excellent work that we can hope to achieve consistency for women and girls across our police forces. Entries also showed how we are pursuing perpetrators and showing them that there is nowhere to hide. We all want policing to achieve more and although we still have much to do, I am heartened by the quality of work that is underway.”
Minister for Safeguarding at the Home Office, Sarah Dines said: “I am committed to tackling violence against women and girls and it was a privilege to attend today’s event and hear first-hand the work the police do daily to truly changes people’s lives.
“All of the winners today are truly inspiring and I was heartened to hear their passion and dedication to challenge harmful behaviours, identify and support victims, and pursue perpetrators of the most heinous crimes. Across society, we must have a zero-tolerance approach to violence against women and girls. I'm proud to be working with the police to crack down on these crimes and support victims."
Nicole Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England, and Wales: “I was honoured to participate in the judging panel for the violence against women and girls’ recognition event as it is important to shine a spotlight on those who have gone above and beyond to help children and young people affected by VAWG.
“It is great to see that there were so many remarkable people who have shown great dedication to their work, and this is something that we should strive to achieve across all police forces. A huge congratulations to all!
If you or someone you know has been a victim of rape, sexual assault, domestic abuse or stalking and harassment, we encourage you not to suffer in silence and report it to the police by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.
You can also report information and crimes on our website (www.gmp.police.uk) using the 'report' tool. Alternatively, you can report information anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
There are also lots of organisations and support agencies available across Greater Manchester that can help and provide support for you. For more information on rape and serious sexual assault and the support services available to you, please visit our support pages.
St. Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre - Manchester provides a comprehensive and co-ordinated response to men, women and children who live or have been sexually assaulted within Greater Manchester. They offer forensic medical examinations, practical and emotional support as well as a counselling service for all ages. Services are available on a 24-hour basis and can be accessed by calling 0161 276 6515.
Greater Manchester Rape Crisis - is a confidential information, support and counselling service run by women for women over 18 who have been raped or sexually abused at any time in their lives. Call on 0161 273 4500 or email [email protected]
We Are Survivors Manchester - provides specialist trauma informed support to male victims in Greater Manchester who have experienced sexual abuse, rape, or sexual exploitation. Call 0161 236 2182.