A deputy chief constable has been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours for her "exceptional contribution" to the police service.

DCC Alison Roome-Gifford, who has been at the forefront of Hertfordshire's police responses including the Potter's Bar rail crash in 2002, received the Queen's Police Medal (QPM) on Saturday.

Speaking about the honour, she said: "I feel extremely pleased and privileged, yet somewhat overwhelmed to have received the QPM. It is a real honour.

"I have been immensely proud to have served in the Hertfordshire Constabulary for the last 30 years and this award reflects the commitment and professionalism of the very many extraordinary people I have worked with during that time - both colleagues, partners and the public.

" I truly hope that this will further help to build that sense of pride and vocation in policing and the many ways in which our service touches and makes a difference to people's lives."

The mother-of-two began her service in September 1982, becoming one of the first female firearms officers to be recruited into the specialist unit.

She has also worked in child protection, criminal investigation departments and as a national hostage negotiator contributing to the successful resolution of the five-day Stansted Airport hi-jacking in February 2000.

As she rose through the ranks, she was appointed to more senior roles, becoming the first police commander for central Hertfordshire in 2001.

In recent years DCC Roome-Gifford, who is married to a retired detective, has been instrumental in shaping the force's leadership agenda, championing the need to provide inspirational and creative development opportunities for officers and police staff.

Chief constable Andy Bliss said: "I am truly delighted that Alison's dedication and professionalism has been officially recognised with a QPM - it is a rare and much prized distinction in the police service and very much deserved.

"She has served the people of Hertfordshire with uncompromising enthusiasm and generosity of spirit and over the years has been a great role model for many officers and police staff colleagues."