New Year Honours: Chief executive of St George’s Police Children’s Trust is awarded MBE

Colonel Patrick Cairns, from Flockton, was awarded the MBE for serving as chief executive of St George’s Police Children’s Trust and the Police Treatment Centres charities.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 3:04 pm
MBE: Colonel Patrick Cairns.
MBE: Colonel Patrick Cairns.

The first charity helps the children of police officers and the latter helps officers who become injured or ill.

Since being appointed to the charities, based in Harrogate and Auchterarder, in June 2014 he has worked with determination and dedication, transforming the charities dramatically, the Cabinet Office said. On awarding Patrick the MBE, the government said he had “revolutionised the PTC in Harrogate and he seeks the very best for everyone who attends, often with very serious injuries”.

The PTC provides physiotherapy and psychological support to police officers to return them to duty, while the SGPCT provides financial and emotional support to the surviving children of officers who have died.

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Patrick, 55, said: “Seeing the transformative effect the work the charity does has been the biggest reward – it has saved careers, it has saved relationships, and it has saved lives.” He said the officers who seek help from the charity may have suffered physical injuries such as being beaten or stabbed, or they may have experienced psychological harm over time.

It may have been a single traumatic event that lead them to the charity, he said, or it may be the effects of long years of service. He said there was a “curse of the strong”.

He said: “Police officers go further than most of us would be able to and sometimes don’t seek help. They put the needs of others before their own.”

He said that in recent years cuts to the help that emergency service staff receive meant organisations like his own had to step up. He said: “Austerity has meant a lot of the help available has gone so we have had to become a safety net.”

And Patrick hopes that the honour will be an opportunity to inform people about the work his charity does.

He said: “I was surprised and delighted to receive the nomination and never expected to be awarded the MBE, but the real recognition is seeing the transformative effects that the charity can have.

“That is more than enough. But I hope the MBE can be an opportunity to raise the profile of the charity. I hope that talking about it can make things better.”

The Cabinet Office said that while previously both charities had “performed adequately they lacked energy, relying instead upon reputation and nothing had really changed since the 1960s”.

Patrick was able to fund a state of the art Psychological Wellbeing Program for officers who have suffered psychological trauma and this program has helped thousands of police officers from around the UK since its launch in 2016.

The PTC is a 100 year old charity with services originally only available to warranted police officers.

The Cabinet Office said he saw that this was unsustainable in 2018 and persuaded the Police Only Board of Trustees to extend support to Special Constables, Police Community Support Officers, Custody Detention Officers, the ambulance Service and the Fire Service. It said this placed the charities on a firm footing to be able to provide assistance for many years to come.