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Australind police officer-in-charge Heath Soutar honoured with Australian Police Medal in King’s Birthday list

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Australind police officer-in-charge Heath Soutar has been honoured with an Australian Police Medal.
Camera IconAustralind police officer-in-charge Heath Soutar has been honoured with an Australian Police Medal. Credit: Sean Van Der Wielen/Harvey-Waroona Reporter

Australind’s top cop has been honoured for his work to make positive change in the communities he serves.

Officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Heath Soutar was one of five of members of the WA Police Force announced as recipients of the Australian Police Medal in the King’s Birthday honours list on Monday.

He said he was “very humbled and proud” to receive the honour.

“You don’t get a lot of rewards in this job as such and we don’t do it for awards, but to be recognised by a peer is very humbling actually,” Sen. Sgt Soutar said.

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He first joined WA Police in 1986, serving in a number of frontline roles in Perth before taking a five-year break from the force in 1997.

Since rejoining, he has served in specialist units including the Regional Operations Group and as OIC of the Australind, Collie, Laverton and Merredin police stations.

In his award citation, Sen. Sgt Soutar was recognised for displaying “...innovation, drive and integrity whilst policing in challenging work areas like ROG and some of the most remote areas”.

As part of his postings in Laverton and Wiluna, he made efforts towards reconciliation efforts, which saw Martu elders give him the skin group of Milangka to recognise his commitment to their people and lands.

Sen. Sgt Soutar described reconciliation efforts in those communities as important work.

“It’s shown over time that police are quite often seen as the enemy — we’ve been involved in a lot of bad things — so to be involved in the community engagement side and the positive side of policing has been very rewarding,” he said.

Sen. Sgt Soutar has worked on multiple projects within the force, including the rollout of Out of Control Gathering legislation in 2012 and moves towards online crime reporting.

He also offers support and advice to other police officers through the Peer Mentor Program.

Sen. Sgt Soutar said he had worked with some “wonderful people” and “amazing teams” over his 32-year career.

“Along the way, there’s a lot of people that have been part of it and it could be a win for them as well because they’ve assisted me and certainly helped along the way, and even more so now,” he said.

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