Thursday, 28 March 2013

Strathclyde Police and the Lockerbie disaster

[To mark the last days of Strathclyde Police before it is incorporated, along with the other seven Scottish forces, into Police Scotland, the Evening Times has today published an article recalling some of the most serious incidents in which the force was involved.  Here is what the article says about the Lockerbie disaster:]

John Boyd, chief constable of Dumfries and Galloway, was sitting at home in Dumfries on the night of Wednesday, December 21, 1988, when a television newsflash brought him the terrible news: an aircraft had crashed over Lockerbie.

At that very moment, his own HQ rang him.

Realising the magnitude of the task before him, Boyd immediately phoned for help, from the armed forces, from Lothian & Borders Police ... and from Strathclyde Police.

At the time that Pan Am Clipper Maid of the Seas exploded over Lockerbie, John Orr was joint head of CID in Strathclyde Police, with the rank of detective chief superintendent.

He arrived in Lockerbie in the early hours of the morning, having been seconded at the request of Dumfries and Galloway.

He spent two years as the chief investigating officer, heading a multi-force team of officers that succeeded in the face of huge odds in amassing crucial evidence in what was the biggest mass murder – there were 270 victims (259 on the plane and 11 in Lockerbie) – in Scottish history.

Strathclyde Superintendent Angus Kennedy headed daily Press briefings after the tragedy. The force also provided a Holmes computer system, because the manual systems operated by Dumfries and Galloway could not cope.

When he retired, in 1992, as Strathclyde's Assistant Chief Constable, Hugh Paton spoke of one memory that would never leave him – of arriving at the scene in Lockerbie the morning after the tragedy, as daytime incident commander.

He was involved in the traumatic first 10 days. "In 32 years of policing," he said, "these were my worst moments."

No comments:

Post a Comment