A TOP commendation has been awarded to the team behind the Shafilea Ahmed murder investigation.

The 56 people who worked on the nine-year long case have been given the commendation for service excellence by the Cheshire Police Authority.

Margaret Ollerenshaw, chairman, said: “A commendation is the highest honour we can give and the highest award in policing outside honours from the Queen.

“This is the final commendation the authority will award as we are about to be replaced by a police and crime commissioner.

“It is also the first time we have awarded a commendation to a large team of people.

“This was an exemplary piece of police work conducted under very close public scrutiny.

“The high standard was maintained throughout the investigation and through the trial, keeping pace with every twist and turn that developed.

“We felt we should recognise the entire team.

“So it is very appropriate that this final commendation should go to so many people to mark the time, effort and dedication they put in to achieve justice for a teenage girl who was denied the right to an adult life.”

Helen King, deputy chief constable of Cheshire, said the investigation had been one of the most complex cases undertaken by Cheshire Police.

She said: “It was emotionally challenging for those involved and required considerable professional skills in relation to the investigation, supporting communities and managing media interest.”

Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed were both convicted of Shafilea’s murder and jailed for life at Chester Crown Court in August.