The King’s Birthday Honours 2023 – Police, Fire and Ambulance Service

Recipients of Police, Fire and Ambulance medals in Scotland.

King’s Police Medal

  • Malcolm Graham, Deputy Chief Constable, Police Scotland
  • Kenneth MacDonald, Assistant Chief Constable, Police Scotland

King’s Fire Service Medal

  • Matt Acton, Area Commander, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

King’s Ambulance Service Medal

  • Julie Shields, Head of Service for the East Region, Scottish Ambulance Service


Malcolm Graham, Deputy Chief Constable

Deputy Chief Constable (DCC) Malcolm Graham joined Lothian and Borders Police in 1995. In May 2009, he became Detective Chief Superintendent with responsibility for organised crime and counter terrorism in Edinburgh, the Lothians and Scottish Borders. He was promoted to Assistant Chief Constable within Police Scotland in January 2013, where he had responsibility for major crime, public protection and local crime.

DCC Graham oversaw Police Scotland’s response to violence against women and girls. Under his leadership, the service improved Divisional Rape Investigation Units and developed the award winning ThatGuy campaign, which calls upon men to challenge attitudes and behaviours towards women. He also led the development of a new Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy and is an ambassador for White Ribbon Scotland, a charity that works to end gender based violence.

In May 2019, he was promoted to his current rank and the following year he led Police Scotland’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As DCC, he has worked with international partners on the investigation into the Lockerbie terrorist attack and he is a board member of a programme for sharing knowledge with colleagues in the UK, USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. DCC Graham played an important role in the organisational response following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, liaising with the Scottish and UK Governments to deliver a successful operation that resulted in no security breaches. He currently has responsibility for delivering local policing and leads five Assistant Chief Constables covering 13 divisions.

Kenneth MacDonald, Assistant Chief Constable

Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Kenny MacDonald joined Strathclyde Police in 1994 and served for 28 years before retiring from Police Scotland in October 2022. In 2016, he became Divisional Commander for the City of Edinburgh Division, before being promoted to ACC for the East of Scotland in 2019. He became ACC for Criminal Justice Services Division in July 2020.

He held a leadership position during the 2018 visit to Scotland by President Donald Trump, and during the COVID-19 pandemic he worked with partners to ensure the delivery of criminal justice services in Scotland. Examples of the innovation delivered by ACC MacDonald included the introduction of virtual custody courts and summary trials, and the remote provision of evidence.

In 2013, he was promoted to Superintendent in Edinburgh, with responsibility for planning for the deaths senior members of the Royal Household. He was later promoted to Silver Commander for Operation Unicorn and was eventually appointed as the Gold Commander in 2019. When Operation Unicorn was finally activated, ACC MacDonald had overall command. The response included the largest no notification policing operation in the history of Police Scotland. ACC’s MacDonald’s leadership, relationships with partners and knowledge of the plans ensured a safe and fitting tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.


Matt Acton, Area Commander

Matt Acton has served with distinction since 1994 and is currently the Area Commander for the City of Edinburgh. He has been responsible for the delivery of major events, notably the Hogmanay Street Party and Edinburgh Festival. Following the passing of Firefighter Barry Martin in January, he played an important role in planning the funeral, working with partners to co-ordinate security while minimising the impact on communities in Edinburgh.   

Area Commander Acton helped co-ordinate the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s (SFRS) work during Operation Unicorn, maintaining operational readiness and the safety of Edinburgh. He worked with partners to ensure appropriate security and access measures were in place to allow large events to take place in the city. His leadership ensured SFRS was able to respond appropriately to any incidents during the period of national mourning. In preparation for Operation Unicorn, he engaged over a nine-year planning period with partners including the Royal Household, military and Scottish and UK Governments.


Julie Shields, Head of Service for the East Region

During a distinguished career of more than 27 years with the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), Julie Shields has worked as an ambulance care assistant, technician and paramedic. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she provided leadership in the National and East Regional cells. Recently, she played a leading role in work to give smartphone technology to all operational frontline staff.

She was instrumental in the rollout of 3,500 devices to improve diagnostic capability and make it easier to take care decisions at a local level. With her team, she also led the development of pathways to ensure patients receive the most appropriate care in the best setting. She provides leadership to her peers by chairing the SAS’s Head of Service Group and Ethnic Minority Forum.


Nominations are made by Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Scottish Ambulance Service. The Scottish Government facilitates a panel to consider and agree which nominations are advanced.


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