ONE of the region’s most senior police officers has been honoured for his long service to the community.

Mike Barton, chief constable of Durham Constabulary, has been awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List after a distinguished police career lasting more than 30 years.

Mr Barton said: “I’m immensely proud to have served the communities of Lancashire and County Durham and Darlington for over 34 years now.

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“Police officers don’t join the service for public accolades – they are motivated because they want to make a difference.

“Of course, I take tremendous personal pride in being recognised by our Queen, but I am humbled because it wouldn’t have happened without the fantastic support I’ve had from my family and colleagues.

“I would like to think the award is a massive vote of confidence for Durham Constabulary.”

Mr Barton served with Lancashire Police for 28 years before joining Durham in 2008 as assistant chief constable and was promoted to deputy chief constable the following year.

He became temporary chief constable in October 2012 on the retirement of Jon Stoddart and took up the post on a permanent basis the following February.

Also named in the Birthday Honours List announced on Friday is Rachael Shimmin, corporate director with children and adult services at Durham County Council, who is awarded the OBE for services to social care.

Margaret Jane Moor, of Durham, from the Department of Works and Pensions, is also awarded the OBE for services to people with disabilities and charitable fund raising.

Knitter Diana Hinns was awarded the British Empire Medal for her long-standing charity work.

The 50-year-old, from Dipton, near Stanley, began her charity work in 1976, helping out at Sunday school and running holiday clubs, camps and training sessions for the United Reformed Church.

From 2003 onwards, she began organising Knit and Natter groups, creating clothes for premature babies, teddies for traumatised children and families around the world.

Also presented with the British Empire Medal is Neil Moffett, from COnsett, for his work with the Boys Brigade.

He is an active member of The Grove Methodist Church, works as a childcare co-ordinator with Churches Together in Derwentside and helps out with the Salvation Army, including their food parcel appeal and Christmas Toy Appeal.

Mr Moffett, who works as an advisor for Job Centre Plus, said: “I am very honoured to think that someone should think that I deserve such an award. “It is nice to be recognised for the work I do. It is something I enjoy doing. It is a pleasant surprise, I wasn’t expecting it at all.”