MBE for high flying police officer

Constable Claire Batt, from Colne, has been awarded an MBE in the New Years' Honours list.
Constable Claire Batt, from Colne, has been awarded an MBE in the New Years' Honours list.
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A police officer from Colne, who is responsible for the welfare of around 2,700 of her colleagues, has been named in the New Year's Honours list.

Constable Claire Batt has received an MBE for her role as a welfare officer for the Ministry of Defence civilian police force.

The honour came out of the blue for Claire (44) who grew up in Skipton Road and was a former pupil of Foulridge Primary and Colne Park high schools.

She said: "I was stunned when I received the letter but also delighted and I did wonder who had nominated me because I feel like I am just doing my job."

After finishing her A' levels at Nelson and Colne College, Claire joined the M of D police force in Scotland at the tender age of 19.

Seven years later she was transferred to London where she worked as a counter terrorism office on an Area Policing Team. In 2009, Claire became a financial investigator for the Fraud Squad.

When the police federation, which is equivalent to a union for the police force, requested she take on the role of a welfare officer, Claire was happy to do so but she felt it needed more structure.

Claire was so successful in establishing a network of support and help for officers in both their professional and personal lives, this prompted the Ministry of Defence police force to create a full time role and they asked her to take it on.

Although she has never envisaged herself doing this in her career, Claire took on the role and and made it her own.

She said: "People ask what welfare is and it really is about the care and support of officers in their role, including looking at ways they can continue with their career if they become injured or disabled."

Claire also works closely with the Police Firearms Officers Association, a welfare organisation that has many years of experience looking after firearms officers and their families.

Now based in Wethersfield, Essex, where she lives with her husband, Mitch who is the general secretary for the Ministry of Defence police federation, Claire still has strong ties to Lancashire.

Her mum, Deirdre Grimshaw, lives in Colne along with Claire's sister, Lindsey Hurlstone, her husband Nigel and Claire's nephews, Robert and Jake.

They, along with her mother-in-law Joan Preston, will all be joining Claire and Mitch at Buckingham Palace, when she goes to receive her honour.

And one person who would have been bursting with pride at Claire's honour is her late father, Jack Grimshaw.

Claire said: "I know that he would have been thrilled at this honour for me.

"It is ironic because when I did my A'levels one of the subjects I chose was Communications and my dad it wasn't a "proper" subject but in the end, it is the one that has helped me the most in my career."

And by happy coincidence, Claire's dad was lifelong friends with the grandfather of cycling Olympic gold medallist, Steven Burke, who also hails from Colne and was awarded the MBE in 2013.