Police duo who brought online stalker to justice scoop award
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Two police investigators have won recognition after bringing an online stalker to justice for a relentless campaign of harassment against multiple victims.
Detective Constable Janet Percival and disclosure officer Gary Dodd played a key role in putting Alex Belfield behind bars for stalking offences.
The former BBC radio presented targeted former colleagues, a well-known celebrity and two other men to hateful conduct.
He was jailed for five-and-a-half years in September 2022 following a four-week trial at Nottingham Crown Court.
For putting a stop to Belfield’s relentless campaign of harassment, DC Percival and Gary Dodd were crowned joint winners of the Police Investigator of the Year category at this year’s Nottinghamshire Police Force Awards.
They were nominated by Detective Inspector Craig Hall for going above and beyond both professionally and emotionally to bring justice for the victims.
He said: “Within a very short period of time after being allocated the case, it became apparent that Belfield had been running online campaigns to terrorise multiple people.
“But the case turned out to be much more serious and complex than could have been anticipated upon the initial reporting.
“After being interviewed early in the investigation, Belfield upped the ante with his campaign and began to release dozens of YouTube videos where he was personally attacking DC Percival and encouraging his 300,000 strong army of followers to target both DC Percival and certain BBC broadcasters with hateful online comments and videos.
“Undeterred DC Percival engaged with the BBC legal department to gather evidence including emails, videos and social media posts that targeted broadcasters.
“DC Percival then enlisted the support of disclosure officer Gary Dodd who took responsibility for reviewing, indexing and cataloguing over 3,000 separate items of material which had to be organised into manageable disclosure schedules.
“This task was particularly complex as nearly every item of material related to multiple victims and had to be duplicated into individual disclosure bundles, whilst meeting legal requirements.
“Through painstaking investigation and review DC Percival and Gary overcame repeated legal barriers to ultimately gather and present sufficient evidence to put Belfield in prison for a significant length of time.”
DC Percival and Gary were announced as the winners of the Police Investigator of the Year category at Nottinghamshire Police’s Force Awards ceremony, held at its Sherwood Lodge headquarters on April 25.
A full list of winners can be found in the event programme, which can be downloaded below.