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VRU founder John Carnochan honoured at Holyrood Scottish Public Service Awards

John Carnochan receives the Lifetime Achievement award from Community Justice Scotland CEO and fellow VRU founder Karyn McClusky | Andrew Perry

VRU founder John Carnochan honoured at Holyrood Scottish Public Service Awards

The Holyrood Scottish Public Service Awards celebrated their tenth anniversary last night as they honoured the founder of Scotland’s much-lauded Violence Reduction Unit – former Detective Chief Superintendent of Strathclyde Police John Carnochan – with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Run by Holyrood Communications, the event brought together civil servants, ministers, MSPs and representatives of the third and private sectors to showcase this year’s top contributions to Scotland’s civic society.

Held in the Garden Lobby of the Scottish Parliament, the ceremony was opened by Deputy First Minister Shona Robison and Deputy Presiding Officer Liam McArthur, with award-winning journalist Pennie Taylor taking over the hosting duties.

Organised in partnership with the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government, the event saw organisations and individuals take home titles rewarding them for everything from their leadership performance to their efforts towards diversity and inclusion.

Carnochan – who was a police officer for almost four decades – took home the award for his lifetime dedication to making Scotland a safer place. The award recognises many of his career accomplishments, such as the 2005 launch of the Violence Reduction Unit, an initiative to tackle dangerous behaviour that has been replicated in several cities across the UK, including London.

The winners | Image: Andrew Perry

In 2007, Carnochan was also awarded the Queen’s Police Medal and made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s 2013 Birthday Honours.

As he collected his award, he reminisced on his hard work and said that trust, curiosity and collaboration were essential factors in making meaningful change.

Holyrood Communications managing director Mandy Rhodes, who chaired the judging panel, said: “This year's list of nominees was one of our strongest yet, making the work of the judges extremely hard, so well done to all those who entered and congratulations to our deserving winners. I am delighted that the pioneering work done by John Carnochan and the Violence Reduction Unit has been honoured with him winning this year's Lifetime Achievement award. So very richly deserved”

Other winners included Transport Scotland for its Young Persons’ (Under 22s) Free Bus Travel Communications Campaign, which took home The Campaign of the Year Award following its promotion of a scheme that reached the 50 million free journeys mark earlier this year.

The Project and Programme Management Award, in association with the Association for Project Management, went to Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal’s Integrated Regional Employability and Skills Programme for enhancing the lives of local communities.

The Edinburgh Ukrainian Welcome Hub by the City of Edinburgh Council and Royal Bank of Scotland won The Commercial Partnerships Award after joining efforts between the private, public and third sector to support Ukrainian refugees – Europe’s largest displacement of refugees since World War Two.

The work helping those fleeing the war in Ukraine was also recognised with the winners of The Voluntary Sector Partnership Award, sponsored by SCVO, which went to Edinburgh’s Warm Scots Welcome, run by Edinburgh’s community and voluntary sector partnership.

Lorraine Glass, interim director of Respectme, Scotland’s Anti-Bullying Service, was given the Leadership Award while South Ayrshire Council received the Championing Diversity and Inclusion Award for its young carers short film The Weekend.

The Community Engagement award went to Renfrewshire Council for its campaign #YouDecide, which allowed local communities to have a say on budget allocation. The last call for suggestions let locals decide which infrastructure projects across the region should receive a share of around £1m from the budget.

Renfrewshire Children’s Services and Police Scotland were honoured with the prestigious Campbell Christie Public Service Reform Award for the alcohol and substance awareness programme, I Am Me Scotland. The title honours the late Campbell Christie, who’s legacy in the sector inspired the launch of the event in 2014.

The Digital Public Services Award, supported by Leidos, was awarded to the Scottish Government’s Social Security Directorate for its Adult Disability Payment, a pioneering benefit-application system for disabled people and those with long-term health conditions.

The Scottish Government in partnership with NHS Scotland also received the Sustainability Award, supported by Vattenfall, for its Green Anaesthesia Scotland project, working to reduce the environmental impact of anaesthetics used by NHS Scotland.

Finally, the Policy into Practice Award went to Social Security Scotland’s Health and Social Care Operations for its work to integrate health and social care practitioners into the civil service.

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