A wildlife crime officer who assisted a global Interpol-led operation tackling the illegal trade of animals has won a lifetime achievement award.

PC Jos Bartlett, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Rural Operational Support Team, said she was “surprised but honoured” to have received the accolade for her outstanding work over the past 30 years.

Since joining the force in 1990, PC Bartlett has dealt with various wildlife crimes across the county and various persecution offences.

In 2010, she joined the Constabulary’s newly formed Rural Operational Support Team, which provides advice and guidance on rural, wildlife, heritage, environmental and equine matters to both colleagues and members of the public.

PC Bartlett, who grew up on a swan sanctuary, said: “It’s been really good getting a full time unit to deal with these matters; we’re very lucky in Hertfordshire that we have a team to support front line officers with education and advice on these issues and crimes.”

She continued: “It’s always interesting and one in which I can use my experience as both a Wildlife Crimes Officer and a search team officer.

“We assist in the postal centres, alongside Border Force, and scan and check packages entering and also leaving the UK.

“We have had many seizures of goods over the years, ranging from ivory and rare plants to counterfeit goods; I even found a counterfeit passport which was sewn into the shoulder pads of a garment from Nigeria.”

Having made good links with Border Force at Heathrow Airport over the years, PC Bartlett has also been asked to represent police and spend one to one time with Prince William.

She spoke to him about how police across the country deal with the illegal trade in endangered species.

“He was allotted five minutes to speak to me in his busy schedule, but after 15 minutes we were still talking as he was genuinely interested in the work we do,” PC Bartlett said.

“It is definitely a very memorable moment in my career.”

PC Bartlett was presented the lifetime achievement award by Chief Constable of Cheshire, Darren Martland, and Paul De Ornellas, the Chief Wildlife Advisor for WWF, in front of colleagues from across the country.

PC Bartlett added: “It’s not really a role you do to seek reward; wildlife is voiceless so it can’t thank you for the work you’re doing, you just get on with it.”