HAVING led a trailblazing career in the service for three decades, an Alva woman is to receive the Queen’s Police Medal.

Wee County born and bred Chief Superintendent Gillian Imery, 51, was named on the Queen’s Birthday Honours for a distinguished career in the service spanning more than 30 years.

She was the first ever woman to become a detective sergeant in Edinburgh and later rose to divisional commander – becoming the first and only female to take charge of the capital’s officers.

Appointed in 2013, as the first head of public protection and divisional crime for Police Scotland, Ch. Supt. Imery led a national charge in critical areas of work including rape recording and investigation and the management of registered sex offenders.

She told the Advertiser: “In that role I was able to progress national work about the standards of investigation into rape and various public protection issues such as honour-based violence, FGM (female genital mutilation) and forced marriage.”

Displaying insight, she established a consultancy group, mainly comprising third sector organisations with a focus on black, Asian and minority ethnic issues – her groundbreaking work engaged with the often unheard voices who had little contact with the authorities.

She later became divisional commander for the Lothians and Scottish Borders, where she began her career in 1986.

And with yet another entry for the history books, last year she became the first female officer to take on the role of assistant inspector at HM Inspector and Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS), where she is today.

Ch. Supt. Imery said: “I’ve been in detective roles for most of those 30 years so having the opportunity in this assistant inspector of constabulary role to look at the service that was being provided to victims of sexual crime was kind of coming full circle.

“Hopefully it will be the catalyst for some improvements in that area.”

The former Dollar Academy pupil was “very proud and very grateful” when she heard about her QPM, which will be formally received at a ceremony later this year.

She added: “It came as a surprise, I don’t think anyone should have an expectation anyway, but I never thought about it so to receive the communication to say I was going to be given that honour was just fantastic.”