Queen’s New Year Honours 2019 - Fire, Police and Ambulance Service

Recipients of Fire, Police and Ambulance Service medals in Scotland

Recipients of Fire, Police and Ambulance Service medals in Scotland are as follows:

 Queen's Police Medal

  • Sara Buchanan, Detective Superintendent, Police Scotland
  • Nelson Telfer, Assistant Chief Constable, Police Scotland
  • Liam Fitzpatrick, Police Constable, Police Scotland

Queen's Fire Service Medal  

  • Brenda Gillan, Group Manager, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
  • Kevin Phillip, Community Firefighter, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Queen's Ambulance Service Medal 

  • Paul Gowens, Lead Consultant Paramedic, Scottish Ambulance Service


Sara Buchanan, Detective Superintendent, Police Scotland

Detective Superintendent Sara Buchanan's dedication and commitment during her thirty year policing career has both inspired her peers and enhanced and improved the delivery of policing services to communities across Scotland.

Early in her career, Sara moved into the specialist area of covert policing and has undertaken a number of roles at ranks including Sergeant, Inspector and Superintendent. 

She has provided a significant contribution to covert policing development by the UK law enforcement community, championing and driving continuous improvement in this area since the embryonic stages of Police Scotland. She maintains her ambitions for improvements, seeking to further advance covert policing opportunities in supporting local communities, targeting criminals and achieving justice.

As Senior Investigating Officer (SIO), Sara has led multiple complex enquires, including the high profile corporate homicide investigation into the fire at the Balmoral Bar in Edinburgh in 2009.

A seminal moment in Sara's career came in 2014 when she was appointed Strategic Commander following the disappearance of three-year old Mikaeel Kular. Her proactive appeals through local and national media outlets were instrumental in enlisting public cooperation and providing community support and reassurance throughout this tragic and highly traumatic incident.

Nelson Telfer, Assistant Chief Constable, Police Scotland

Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Nelson Telfer joined Strathclyde Police in 1990 and throughout his career has performed both uniformed and plain-clothes roles. He is currently ACC for Operational Support and is a key leader in Police Scotland's Executive team, recognised for his dedication and commitment not only to the organisation but to the communities of Scotland which he has served for nearly 30 years.

ACC Telfer's abilities were recognised at an early stage and in 1994 he was sponsored by the Scottish Office to take up a secondment to the University of Glasgow, where he completed a law degree. He thereafter returned to operational duties and, with a firm focus on serving the local community in which he worked, ACC Telfer took up a post with Glasgow City Council as Local Authority Liaison Officer

In February 2012, ACC Telfer was promoted to Chief Superintendent and posted to North Lanarkshire Division. At the inception of Police Scotland, he was made Commander for the new 'super' Division of Lanarkshire, serving around 634,500 people over 896 square miles.

Latterly, after performing a temporary role of ACC for Local Policing West, Nelson assumed the role of Divisional Commander for Specialist Services. During his time as Commander, he led the Armed Policing Uplift Programme, which saw the number of armed officers available to be deployed in Scotland increase by around 40 percent.

Successfully promoted to his current rank in May 2017, ACC Telfer's first week saw him lead Police Scotland's response to the terrorist attack in Manchester. He maintained overall strategic responsibility during this time, a period when the threat level from international terrorism was raised to 'Critical', and provided outstanding reassurance to communities throughout Scotland.

Throughout his career, ACC Telfer has committed himself to continual professional development and is a qualified Public Order, Strategic Firearms and Counter Terrorism Commander. In his current role as ACC Operational Support, ACC Telfer oversees the policing of around 12,000 events per year in Scotland as well as being executive lead for the policing of Scotland's roads network.

Liam Fitzpatrick, Police Constable, Police Scotland

PC Liam Fitzpatrick is a Constable approaching 30 years' service who has spent the majority of his service within Lothian and Borders Police, undertaking specialist roles in  Firearms and Public Order, where he quickly became known as a Subject Matter Expert in Training, Advising (Public order and Firearms), Close Protection, Use of Force and Officer Safety training. He was the lead instructor for Public Order and sat on both the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) and Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) working groups, making contacts throughout the UK and driving forward the move to professionalising the police response to conflict and use of force.

Prior to 1994, legacy forces within Scotland and the UK had limited Officer Safety Training, often relying on wooden baton and handcuffs to deal with disorder and violent prisoners. In a move to improve officer and public safety, Liam volunteered to lead on the creation of a full suite of training and techniques.  Over a period of more than 24 years, he has almost single-handedly driven the introduction and professionalisation of Officer Safety Training (OST), introducing a highly competent, measured, risk assessed process for dealing with the public, which crucially stands up to scrutiny in the public eye.

Having helped in the creation of the first full time Public Order and Search Unit within Lothian and Borders Police, and throughout stints as an operational officer, more than 25,000 officers having benefited from PC Fitzpatrick's expertise and enthusiasm in various guises as an instructor and mentor.

He was a key advisor for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) Edinburgh in 1996, and has taken on significant logistical and challenging roles including G8 Gleneagles in 2005 and the London Olympics 2012.

Liam has worked work at the annual Edinburgh Hogmanay street party for more than 28 years, during which time the event has evolved from 20,000 revellers to over 125,000. He has guided many new and inexperienced Police Commanders through the planning and implementation stages, including detailed partnership working with the Council and organisers. He was also instrumental in facilitating the strategic review of Edinburgh's Hogmanay street party, resulting in the capacity being reduced to 100,000 to ensure safe participation for all attendees.


Brenda Gillan, Group Manager, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Group Manager Brenda Gillan manages the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service's (SFRS) Operations Control in the West Service Delivery Area, leading over seventy Firefighters and Officers who regularly handle 60,000 calls a year in one of the busiest Fire Controls in the United Kingdom. 

During her longstanding service, Brenda has contributed positively to several notable events including the responses to the Rosepark Care Home tragedy, the explosion at Stockline Plastics and the Clutha Bar helicopter crash. During these incidents, Brenda not only led the call handling and the deployment of operational assets but also supported the longer term operations through the incident support room (ISR).

Brenda has also contributed to the modernisation of the Johnston Operations Control Room, which was formally opened in 2001. Brenda has managed the annual massive increase in calls to the control room around Bonfire Night and led a multi-agency approach to promoting resilience and creating the means through which these calls can be reduced. This has resulted in a significant fall in the number of calls from over one thousand in a single night in 2011 to just over three hundred in 2017. This period has also seen a reduction in the number of attacks on fire crews. 

On the creation of the SFRS, Brenda was required to introduce a number of changes to the Operations Control function including amalgamating a series of former arrangements across Scotland. Brenda contributed to both national and regional requirements and was the first to lead the change by amalgamating the former Strathclyde and Dumfries and Galloway Control Rooms in order to form the Johnston Operations Control.  Brenda has also been involved in other phased amalgamations which resulted in the creation of Controls in Edinburgh and Dundee. 

Kevin Phillip, Community Firefighter, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Kevin joined Tayside Fire Brigade in May 1992 and was stationed at Green Watch, Kingsway East. He quickly established himself within the team and showed his enthusiasm for working with others in the community. In 1999, he moved to the Red Watch in Arbroath and enhanced his skills to become an Emergency Response Driver before being transferred to Red Watch, Blackness Road in July 2002. His commitment to Community Safety and Education was further recognised by his selection to perform the first Community Firefighter position in the Dundee area in 2013.

Kevin has been extremely proactive in youth engagement activity and has shown an interest and aptitude for community safety activity since he joined the Fire Service. He is passionate about giving people the opportunity to do their best, particularly if they suffer inequality due to disability or social background. He demonstrated this by inviting Syrian refugees to Blackness Road Fire Station, providing a space for people in vulnerable situations to build relationships in a working environment designed to promote teamwork.

Formerly a voluntary youth worker with Dundee City Council, Kevin developed his skills to become one of the first Fire Setters Re-education Counsellors in Tayside. Dundee experiences one of the highest rates of deliberate fire setting in Scotland and Kevin recognised the importance of protecting the wellbeing of young people, including those involved in fire raising, who are putting themselves and their friends, as well as their communities, at risk of injury.


Paul Gowens, Lead Consultant Paramedic, Scottish Ambulance Service

Paul started his career with the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) as a Care Assistant, and was one of the youngest Paramedics in Scotland. Always taking pride in his professional practice and with over 28 years' service, he has worked within general operational practice, Special Operations and the Air Ambulance.

While working as a National Risk and Resilience Team Manager, Paul covered many major events in Edinburgh including and royal visits and Royal Week. He then became the Scottish  Ambulance Service's  first Head of Clinical Governance and Patient Safety and, in this role, introduced the first iteration of Patient Safety and Clinical Risk Management initiatives within SAS. Following further training, Paul set about improving Clinical Governance and Patient Safety in the organisation and was one of the first SAS clinicians to complete Scotland's Clinical Leadership programme. 

Paul has used every opportunity to raise the profile and relevance of SAS and para-medicine across the wider NHS. He speaks and presents at numerous UK and international conferences, highlighting the Paramedic contribution to care and well-being, and has had numerous publications.

Whilst seconded to the Scottish Government as a clinical advisor, Paul was actively involved in international scoping work that led to the launch of Scotland's first ever Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) Strategy, which was also the first national strategy in the world to promote survival from OHCA. He liaised actively between the Scottish Government, SAS and other clinicians to promote this 5 year plan, ensuring that work always remained on track. His current role is central to SAS's success in improving outcomes from cardiac arrest, major trauma, stroke, sepsis, major incidents and mass casualties.

In 2017, after many years of active membership, Paul Gowens became Vice Chair of the UK College of Paramedics, a reflection of the high esteem in which he is held amongst his colleagues.



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