A police officer who was recognised in the New Year’s honours list said she was shocked to be made an MBE.

Claire Batt, of Nether Court, Halstead, was recognised for her role as welfare officer for the Ministry of Defence police force.

Mrs Batt is responsible for 2,007 officers in the force and ensures that all of their concerns and issues are heard.

She said: “I was very shocked when I found out I had been awarded the MBE. It was strange in some ways because I was getting a medal for doing my job basically.

“The nicest part was having the recognition from colleagues and my superiors.

“People were thanking me on Facebook for helping them and offering their congratulations.”

Mrs Batt became the Ministry of Defence Police Forces very first full-time welfare officer back in 2009.

She had previously spent more than a decade working as a firearms officer, as well as working in CID and as a financial investigator.

Mrs Batt’s experience in the force and previous work in welfare meant she was chosen to take on the new role of full-time welfare officer.

She added: “I started the role with a completely clean slate. I was told about certain issues to address and then had to come up with a model on how to deal with them.

“It was a big learning curve at first and I had to learn to manage both my own expectations and other people’s.

“One of the big things I look at now is trends, so why officers from a certain areas are off sick or having problems.

“I have only just had a job profile written after all these years.

“There’s still plenty of work to do, especially on mental health.

“I would never say never to returning to the field, though.

“It’s important to stay in touch with what it’s all about and what it’s like to be a police officer.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence Police Force paid tribute to Mrs Batt and stated she had become a valuable part of the force.

He said: “Her contribution to the MDP through her role as a constable and her engagement as a welfare officer has been of valuable assistance to the force, as well as supporting colleagues at times of need following organisational change, bereavement or ill-health.

“She has thrown herself whole-heartedly into this work, forging a role which is now recognised as a valuable element of the MDP structure.”