BORDERS police proved to be the best of the bunch at last week's Excellence Awards in Edinburgh.

Despite nominations from all four divisions - City of Edinburgh, Midlothian & East Lothian, and West Lothian as well as the Borders - it was the local bobbies who stole the show claiming four of the seven outright categories.

Galashiels PC John Lennon picked up the Community Policing Award for his work within the town.

The 54-year-old former soldier has been in the force for 15 years - and admits it's a job he loves. PC Lennon told us: "It is humbling to be nominated for this award and then win it.

"I'm doing no more than what I should be doing as part of my job. My role is to work within the community and address any problems that people have. I like to think that I point people in the right direction, and I get a lot of satisfaction from what I do."

John has introduced a number of crime prevention initiatives into Galashiels over the past few years - including the Safer Town Retail Partnership and the Crime Centre Safer Retail Award.

The Community Policing shortlist is nominated by members of the public.

PC Lennon added: "I would like to thank the people who put me forward."

Tweeddale's Craig Rogerson was amongst the runners-up in the same category for his work with community councils in Walkerburn, Innerleithen and Peebles. A force spokesman said: "Craig is always keen to work with both the community councils and the local community for the benefit for all."

Probationer of the Year went to former joiner PC Joe Carmichael.

The 31-year-old, who covers the Hawick and Selkirk area, followed in his father's footsteps three years ago by joining the force.

And his high level of dedication, commitment and effort was rewarded after Deputy Chief Constable, Steve Allen, announced him as the overall winner of the category.

PC Carmichael said: "I looked at joining when I was 19 but I was told if I wanted to do some travelling or live a little I should do that first. It was good advice as I came into the force a bit more grown up.

"I really enjoy the job and I think that is reflected in how well I have done. I like getting out there and being proactive. I like to target drug users and dealers, and feel that the work I do makes a difference."

Part of PC Carmichael's nomination highlighted a personal solvency rate of 86 per cent - and also his dedication to fitness.

The Force Excellence Award for Valued Service went to Special Constable Alistair Cameron. The 34-year-old spends his days managing the technical side of a water treatment company - but it's for when he pulls on his uniform at weekends that he was recognised last week.

Alistair, who is from Kelso, is one of 25 Special Constables working in the Borders. As well as patrolling the local beats he has also taken part in public order controls at last year's riots in England and the G8 summit. Alistair, who has been a Special for 15 years, said: "I joined to do something out-with the normal. I have never wanted a full time job in the police but I've been able to self-improve with the various courses and training that are offered. You pick up skills that help in your day-to-day life."

Special Constable Graham Wilson was also presented with a Force Exellence Award for his 22 years of service to Lothian and Borders Police.

The team behind the No Cold Calling Zones initiative were the category winners of the Protection category. A successful pilot scheme involving 1,000 houses in Berwickshire will be rolled out to a further 5,000 homes this year.

A Force spokesman explained: "Bogus workers are serious organised criminals who use fear and intimidation to prey on the most defenceless in our communities."

The team category winner of the Valued Service Award went out-with Lothian and Borders Police. Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue, Borders Search & Rescue, and Borders Underwater Search Team were jointly recognised for their continued assistance to the police.

David Fuller-Shapcott from the Underwater Search Team, which was founded in 1997, said: "Multi agency activities work really well.

"We have the two land-based search teams - Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue and Borders Search & Rescue - as well as us for when there is water involved."

A Force spokesman added: "All three teams provide an invaluable service, they are volunteers but they respond as a professional, well-trained and well-equipped team and, despite the sometimes difficult circumstances, consistently provide a vital service to our policing teams in the Scottish Borders."