Sussex Police Superintendent Simon Nelson has received a Queen’s Police Medal in the Queen’s Platinum Birthday Honours list.
Supt Nelson is the disability lead for the Police Superintendents’ Association (PSA) where he represents the interest of disabled members of the association.
He is also president of the national Disabled Police Association and has received the honour in recognition for his services to policing.
Chief Constable Jo Shiner said: “I am absolutely delighted for Simon and very proud of him. To receive this prestigious honour, especially during Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee is a real reflection of the impact that he has had in his national role. His story is an inspiration about how you can overcome some of the challenges which life throws at you and use that to be a force for good for others. I know I speak for everyone when I say that we are extremely proud of Simon’s achievements.”
Following a diagnosis of stomach cancer in 2004 and a full stomach removal in 2006, Simon has dedicated his service to supporting disabled officers and staff in policing. Despite his own significant health challenges, he continues to work operationally as a firearms commander and public order commander in Sussex Police and has held some of the force’s most challenging operational roles.
He said: “I am both astounded and thrilled to receive this honour, especially at the time of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee. There was a time in my life when I had little faith in the future, but that future is now even better and feels particularly special having reached my final year in policing.
“I am incredibly grateful to those who have showed faith in me and demonstrated genuine interest and support for those in policing with diverse abilities. Special thanks go to my colleagues and friends in the Police Superintendents’ Association, who remain at the forefront of valuing difference.”
Since being elected as president of the Disabled Police Association, Simon has used this opportunity to support the police service on wider diversity, equality and inclusion issues – representing his nationwide colleagues on not just physical health challenges but the wider sphere of neuro diversity.
He also undertakes voluntary work and is a founding advisory board member for the charity Cancer Central UK which helps people affected by cancer to find the support and information they need.
PSA President Paul Fotheringham said: “I am absolutely delighted for Simon, who is such a deserving recipient of this prestigious award.
“Despite his own health challenges, he has committed himself to policing, both as a serving senior officer, and as a leader and ambassador for colleagues who are disabled. The confidence his colleagues have in him is incredible, with the number of PSA members sharing that they identify as disabled trebling since his appointment to his PSA role, which has supported the PSA in better understanding its members and the wider workforce.
“He has worked on key national issues such as national fitness testing, performance regulations, capability dismissal and disability discrimination issues, shaping the way the police service approaches these key issues for the future.
“On behalf of everyone at the PSA, I would like to thank him for everything he has done in influencing our understanding of disability within our workforce and supporting our colleagues. I’d also like to extend my congratulations to every member of the police family, serving and retired, who has been recognised for their contributions to our Service.”