Thursday, 5 March 2015

Police media relations chief for Pan Am 103 investigation dies

[What follows is taken from an obituary in today’s edition of The Herald:]

Angus Kennedy, who has died aged 71, was a police officer who became known to journalists throughout Scotland as the head of the former Strathclyde Police Press Office; he was the main spokesman for the force for many years.

Joining the City of Glasgow Police in 1964, he was initially posted to G Division, Govan Police Office, before progressing through the ranks to reach the rank of superintendent in charge of the demanding environment of police and media relations. (...)

His distinguished police career was defined by the catastrophic event on 21st December 1988 when Pan Am flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie killing 270 people sparking the largest murder enquiry in British history.

Although it had occurred in Dumfries and Galloway, it was agreed by both police forces that Strathclyde would coordinate the media, which, as it turned out, was on an unprecedented scale as within 24 hours there were more journalists than police officers in the small Scottish town. He did a remarkable job not only keeping the world's media informed but importantly he dealt sensitively and compassionately with the relatives that made the journey to Lockerbie in the days that followed. Many came from the United States grief stricken but understandably anxious to find out what had occurred. Angus Kennedy took it upon himself to keep them fully informed and guided them carefully into the media spotlight when appropriate. Out of this tragedy he formed many lifelong friendships with relatives from home and abroad all of whom remained ever grateful for his guidance, strength and comfort at a time of such personal grief.

In 1989 in recognition of his services to policing, in particular his outstanding handling of the exceptional pressures in the aftermath of Lockerbie, he was awarded the Queen's Police Medal.

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