Mid Wales

April Jones: Dyfed-Powys Police honoured for 'truly outstanding' work

April Jones
Image caption April Jones was abducted while playing near her home in Machynlleth

Police officers who investigated the disappearance and murder of schoolgirl April Jones have been honoured for their "truly outstanding work".

Dyfed-Powys Police won the policing excellence award at the Police Federation National Detectives Forum (PDNDF).

The force was praised for its work that led to the arrest and conviction of killer Mark Bridger.

Five-year-old April, from Machynlleth, Powys, was snatched in October 2012.

Paul Ford, secretary of the PDNDF forum, which was set up to represent detectives in Wales and England, said: "This investigation brought out the very best in true team working to deliver justice for April, her family and the local community.

"PDNDF wish to recognise the truly outstanding policing excellence displayed by Dyfed-Powys Police, the wider police family and those who supported this investigation and helped in the delivery of justice."

Det Supt Andy John, who led the investigation, said: "We are delighted as a team to have been presented with this award.

"Our focus was always to secure justice for April and her family, and we could not have achieved this without the support and assistance of so many officers and staff in Dyfed-Powys but also all the other forces and agencies throughout the UK, it was a huge team effort."

April went missing while playing outside her home on the Bryn y Gog estate but was never found despite the largest search in UK police history.

Image caption The search was the largest in UK police history

The hunt took in 2,000 hours of CCTV evidence and nearly 5,000 calls and messages from the public.

The investigation was unprecedented in the UK, in terms of its scale and the terrain covered.

Neighbouring forces and specialist teams helped focus on more than 20 locations around Machynlleth.

Around 200 local volunteers gathered at a leisure centre to join the search after news of April's disappearance spread on social media.

The operation led to 600 messages from the public to police, and the search involved 100 mountain rescue volunteers, 100 police specialist searchers, 20 dog handlers, as well as coastguards and two RNLI craft.

Bridger, 47, from Ceinws, near Machynlleth, was convicted of April's abduction and murder at the end of a four-week trial at Mold Crown Court in May.

He will never be released from prison.

Last week hundreds of people attended April's funeral in her home town, almost a year after she was abducted and murdered.

About 200 people walked behind the funeral cortege as it travelled from her home to a nearby church.

Image caption Dedicated teams searched the river and countryside after April Jones vanished

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