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Council scoops another award for Operation Pheasant

Fenland District Council has gained another national award for the key part it continues to play in Operation Pheasant.

LGC Award

Last night (Wednesday March 11) it walked away with the "Partnership of the Year" trophy at this year's Local Government Chronicle (LGC) Awards ceremony in London.

It comes on top of the two trophies the council won in last year's MJ Awards for its leading role in the multi-agency project.

Operation Pheasant brings together Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Fenland District Council, HM Revenue and Customs, the Gangmaster Licensing Authority, Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue and Home Office Immigration Enforcement.

It has also had very strong support from Steve Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, who has been closely involved in securing major funding for the project from central government

The partnership has gained national recognition for its success in tackling the complex issues of migrant exploitation, illegal gangmasters and poor conditions in private rented housing, particularly in Wisbech.

The LGC judges said: "Operation Pheasant presents a very current and prominent issue in the globalised world that we live in, and has proven tangible results: from improving housing conditions and rescuing victims of modern day slavery, to reducing total crime by 16 per cent.

"Operation Pheasant has proven the far-reaching and long-term positive impact it will have on the community as a whole, and it is a remarkable representation of what a district council can achieve when it combines a strong vision with a formidable partnership."

Councillor John Clark, FDC's Leader, said: "The judges' comments say it all. We're absolutely delighted to have got further recognition for the work we are doing to help tackle these issues. This latest award is no more than Sarah Gove, our housing and communities manager, and her fellow officers deserve for the tremendous efforts they continue to put in, along with the police and other partners."

Paul Medd, FDC's chief executive, said: "The competition for these awards from all over the country is always incredibly strong, so we're naturally very proud to win this award. It's a great example of what close partnership working can achieve. By a nice coincidence it also comes on the eve of our latest Wisbech 2020 Vision Summit, which is all about working with partners towards common goals."

Chief Inspector Mike Hills, Cambridgeshire Constabulary's Fenland Area Commander, said: "We're very pleased to have won this award, which acknowledges the hard work that all team members have put in to Operation Pheasant. Together we have protected and safeguarded a significant number of vulnerable victims from exploitation and this work will continue to make a difference as we move forward."

Councillor Will Sutton, the Cabinet member who oversees the council's role in Operation Pheasant, was also present at last night's ceremony. He said: "What a terrific night for Fenland! So many people have contributed to this success, including my predecessor in this role, David Oliver, and it was a great privilege for me to be there to celebrate it."

Article added Thursday 12 March, 2015