Queen's New Year Honours 2020 - 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

  • Gillian MacDonald, Assistant Chief Constable, Police Scotland
  • Gerry McLean, Detective Chief Superintendent, Police Scotland

Queen’s Fire Service Medal

  • James Arthur Hymas, Area Manager, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal

  • Gail Topping, Paramedic, Scottish Ambulance Service



Gillian MacDonald, Assistant Chief Constable, Police Scotland

Gillian MacDonald joined Strathclyde Police in 1990 and carried out a variety of uniform and Criminal Investigation Department (CID) roles before transferring to Force Headquarters to help establish Strathclyde Police’s first Crime Policy Unit.

In 1999, she was promoted to Sergeant in Paisley, where she led a response team and Operational Planning Unit before being appointed Detective Sergeant, Paisley, CID.

In 2003 Gillian was made Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) to the Scottish Crime Drugs Enforcement Agency, taking on a number of national portfolios including witness liaison, forensic and other specialist support and international liaison roles.

Gillian then returned to Strathclyde Police as Area Commander for Glasgow Southside Central Area, before being promoted to Superintendent and taking on responsibility for Crime and Performance matters. During this period, Gillian quickly became a skilled and capable match commander after also assuming responsibility for event and football match command.

In 2012, Gillian was promoted to Chief Superintendent Executive Support, leading Strathclyde Police’s transition planning ahead of the creation of the single Police Scotland service.  

Gillian was appointed Head of Executive Support for Police Scotland On 1 April 2013, working closely with the new Senior Leadership Team, Scottish Police Authority and Scottish Government. Her next role was as Divisional Commander Ayrshire, where she led cross sector work to deliver a policing model that helped drive significant and sustained reductions in violent crime. To her great credit, the high levels of public satisfaction that Gillian achieved and maintained during her three and a half years in Ayrshire remain in place today. In 2017, Gillian was appointed Assistant Chief Constable Crime and Protection with responsibility for Major Crime, Local Crime, Public Protection and Safer Communities.

A passionate advocate and visible leader for Equality and Diversity, ACC MacDonald has been instrumental in driving positive progress within Police Scotland to improve diversity in promoted posts, senior ranks and roles.

Gerry McLean, Detective Chief Superintendent Police Scotland

DCS Gerry McLean has served the communities of Scotland in a variety of local, regional and national policing roles for over 31 years, after starting his police career supporting communities in the North and East of Glasgow.

Gerry moved on to more specialist roles in the south side of Glasgow before to taking up a regional role within the East of Scotland in the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency. Here he and his team were at the forefront of disrupting the activities of Serious and Organised Criminal Groups, including many of those causing the greatest harm to communities both nationally and internationally.

On returning to Strathclyde Police in late 2011, DCS McLean, was an integral part of the transition from the legacy force structures into Police Scotland and the formation of the Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism Unit (OCCTU) within Specialist Crime Division.

In July 2015, he was appointed Head of the Organised Crime & Counter Terrorism Unit within Specialist Crime Division in Police Scotland.

An example of the success of DCS McLean’s work, and an example of the multi-agency local, national and international collaboration within his OCCTU team, is the recent imprisonment of a significant number of the criminals considered to be of the highest level of threat serious and organised criminals, including those involved in international importations of controlled substances and significant acts of violence.



James Arthur Hymas, Area Manager, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

James is an outstanding area manager who is recognised within the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) for his dedication and commitment

Since joining the service in 1992, James has brought his dedication and professionalism to a number of posts. He has been responsible for the creation of strategies, policies and procedures over many years which have improved the safety of both operational firefighters and communities across Scotland.  

In his Prevention and Protection role within SFRS, his policy work includes the creation of the SFRS Fire Safety Enforcement Framework 2013-2016, SFRS Fire Engineering Framework 2013-2016, SFRS Audit Policy 2013-2016 and the SFRS Unwanted Fire Alarm Signals (UFAS) Policy and Procedure 2014.

James was also instrumental during Fire Reform in Scotland, having responsibility for all of the work relating to Fire Safety Enforcement and Fire Engineering across the country. This work included responsibility for responding to a range of major fire and weather related incidents, all of which he brought to a safe and successful conclusion.

Between February 2015 and May 2017, James held the role of Local Senior Officer (LSO) for East and West Dunbartonshire, Argyll and Bute where he had responsibility for all SFRS resources in these areas.

Since May 2017, James has been LSO for the City of Glasgow, where he has responsibility for the effective deployment of all SFRS resources including a Community Action Team and Fire Safety Enforcement Team.

James has led on many projects during his career and is currently responsible for the implementation of the SFRS Service Transformation Programme within the City of Glasgow. Within this remit, he has widened his local prevention strategy and led a pioneering initiative that has seen the local firefighters work in partnership with the children’s charity Barnardos, with the aim of reducing cases of child sexual exploitation.



Gail Topping, Paramedic, Scottish Ambulance Service

Gail began her career in 1999 working in Ambulance Control before becoming a Technician in 2002 and a Paramedic in 2004. She had an 18-month secondment as a Practice Placement Educator in 2012 before returning to Livingston Ambulance Station.

Gail is an extremely capable Paramedic, dedicated to providing the highest possible level of care to patients as well as supporting her colleagues.

Gail is an excellent communicator and has championed several staff welfare initiatives, always making herself available to help colleagues who are struggling with work-related or personal problems. In her own time, she created the West Lothian Learning and Development Group, helping colleagues to build confidence through training, knowledge and expertise.

In 2017, Gail established the West Lothian Listening and Support group (WELLS), which provides a safe place for staff to meet and discuss incidents that they have been affected by or concerns that they may have. This has been so successful that it has been adopted in other areas.

Gail’s work towards removing the stigma of mental health issues within the workplace is praiseworthy and meritorious.

She is the driving force behind the ‘RUOK?’ campaign, originally an Australian initiative to raise mental health awareness amongst staff who have attended distressing incidents.

She has also worked with volunteers to organise and deliver sessions encouraging staff to talk openly about mental health issues, helping to reduce the stigma attached to a topic that has historically been seen as a weakness by frontline ambulance staff.

This staff-led initiative has been very well received with extremely positive feedback from many staff who have attended and benefitted from it, and it is now being rolled out not just in Scotland, but across other UK ambulance services, as an enabler to improving staff health and wellbeing.



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