A MENSTON woman has admitted that she was “absolutely astonished” to win a top policing award in the United States.

Former St Joseph’s College pupil Kate Hawthorn recently won the 2022 Officer of the Year Award from the Voices for Children Committee and Wayne County Children Services board for her investigation of a suspected child abuse case in Ohio.

The 30-year-old, a former member of Doylestown Police Department, said: “I was absolutely astonished to win it.

“It was between three of us – a DEA agent (Carl Festa) and a sheriff (Deputy Sheriff Nate Smith) were the other two nominees, so we were not sure who was going to win it.

“They read out the reasons that we had been nominated, but then to win it was really surprising. It made all the work that I had done worthwhile.”

Hawthorn explained why she had been nominated: “A young girl had come forward and she was not believed by a lot of people, but I just kept going and going and getting the answers.

“There were a lot of interviews and a lot of uncomfortable situations to go through, including controlled phone calls, evidence collection etc until we finally had the suspect and a confession, and we were able to go forward with charges.”

Hawthorn, formerly of Greengates, had been based in the United States for 11 years, taking a wrestling scholarship at college (she is part of Bradford’s best-known wrestling family) and, for the past three years, being a police officer.

However, she is now back in Yorkshire and working as a teaching assistant at Blakehill Primary School in Bradford, while she waits to start work as a police officer over here.

Hawthorn revealed: “I want to get into the sex crimes department in policing over here or the firearms unit and hope to start next year.”