One of Britain’s longest-serving police officers has been honoured by Her Majesty the Queen.
During a distinguished 43-year career, Detective Chief Superintendent Neil Malkin served first with Durham Constabulary and lately as Senior Investigating Officer with Operation Resolve, the criminal investigation into the 1989 disaster at the Hillsborough football stadium.
The dedicated officer has been awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in the New Year’s Honours List.
Neil said: “It was such a surprise. A letter came through the post on Christmas Eve telling me, very formally, that I had been awarded the medal.
“To say I was pleased would be an understatement - it couldn’t have been a better Christmas present.
“I am proud to do what I do and it is such a privilege to be recognised in this way”.
The Sunderland-born officer became a police cadet in August 1973 and joined Durham Constabulary as a frontline officer in June 1975, at the age of 18.
He first became a detective in Wear Valley, before transferring to Durham CID where he worked on some of the most difficult cases facing the force.
In 1995, Neil was seconded to the North East Regional Crime Squad, where he spent two years investigating serious and organised crime gangs operating across the region.
On his return to Durham, he set up the force’s own Major Crime Team, developing Durham’s nationally-acclaimed family liaison officer team.
Neil was promoted to Detective Superintendent in 2005 and led a number of major investigations, including both counter terrorism operations and high-profile homicide investigations.
During his career, he has received 15 commendations for excellent police work and a national award from the then Association of Chief Police Officers for his contribution to homicide investigation.
In December 2012, after 37 years with Durham, he was appointed to his new role as the senior investigating officer with Operation Resolve, the inquiry into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans during the FA Cup Semi-Final match at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield. It was announced last year that two suspects are to stand trial in connection with events that day.
Now aged 62, the married father-of-two said he had been proud to be able to serve the public throughout his long career.
He added: “It has been a fantastic experience and I have enjoyed every single minute of it.
“It’s about constantly challenging yourself and setting new goals, which brings its own rewards.
“I couldn’t have committed myself to the police service for more than 40 years without the support of my wife Angela and two boys Daniel and Richard”.