The Queen’s New Year’s Honours list has seen an Upminster lady named to receive a QPM. For those of you who do not know, it represents the Queen’s Police Medal, one of the highest awards a police officer could be awarded and that has gone to Upminster’s very own Sally Benatar.
Sally is a truly remarkable lady and a real inspiration and role model to women out there looking to excel at their career. Sally has recently retired from the Metropolitan Police where she served for 31 years and left as BCU Commander for the South West of London.
Not only did Sally excel at her career in the police but she also over came many obstacles in her private life such as the battling of breast cancer and also being a victim of domestic abuse. These obstacles actually motivated Sally to keep going and be even more successful in her career. Her own strength and resilience is what has got her where she is and for anyone looking for a positive role model in their lives, well look no further than Sally a real life super woman, minus the cape.
“I’m very happy and proud to be receiving this medal, it was really unexpected,” she told the Havering Daily. But then with a Commissioner such as Cressida Dick at the helm of the capital’s police, we can see why Sally was also so motivated to be the best at her job. “Our Commissioner is an amazing role model, she does her job brilliantly, she is kind and caring and really is in touch with our communities here in London.”
Sally began her career 31 years ago in what was once a very male dominated job, but not now. “Being a police officer now is very different to what it was when I first started. I never struggled to do my job, I knew I was able to do it and to do it well. ” This, Sally has clearly proved as she will now be the proud recipient of the QPM.
Sally has worked in many different sectors across the police from the Prime Minister’s Protection Team to being based at Heathrow Airport. “I always knew that I was good enough to do my job, I knew I wasn’t there just because I was a woman but because I could do my job.”
Sally became a Chief Superintendent and from there led the first borough mergers that led the way for the 12 Basic Command Units we have across London now. “My last three years on the South West BCU have been great. It was challenge to bring together four boroughs, Kingston, Richmond, Wandsworth and Merton but worth it. I had an amazing team and my deputy Simon Message gave me the perfect support.”
In her private life she also faced many challenges. She has over come breast cancer and found herself the victim of domestic abuse at the hands of her husband. “It was hard to speak about it at first but I knew things weren’t right. I couldn’t see my way round leaving, but once I made the 101 call I knew it was the right thing to do.” Now Sally speaks about her experiences to officers and other organisations, spreading the message that it can happen to anyone. As she quotes “If it can happen to a Borough Commander, it can happen to anyone”.
Sally works closely with organisations who deal with domestic violence and helps champion their cause. “Coercive control can escalate into violence, many women have lost their life to their partner.”
Despite all these problems in her own private life, Sally remained a very positive person and a dedicated police officer through and through. “The recent year has been very hard for police officers. When Covid first struck last year, it was hard for me to send my officers out on the frontline not knowing what we were dealing with and if the PPE was going to be sufficient to keep them safe. “I was doing a job where I did not understand the risk or how to deal with it at first. No of us did and still police officers go out everyday and night on the frontline dealing with incidents whilst others can shield at home. I don’t understand why police officers are not on the priority list for the vaccinations.”
Sally is a very amazing lady. Her incredible resilience has made her the success story she is. As BCU Commander she listened to her community and took onboard their requests, her career is a very distiguished one that shows just what an incredible role model she is.
For anyone thinking of joining the Metropolitan Police, then Sally is a great female role model as well as the Commissioner herself. Well done Sally, a hero in a uniform.