Senior police officer.
Born: May 24, 1933 Died: October 9, 2013
David Whittet, who has died aged 80, was a senior police officer and lecturer at the Scottish Police College at Tulliallan in Stirlingshire. He spent a lifetime in public service before retiring from Tayside Police with the rank of chief superintendent and acting assistant chief constable.
Born in Coupar Angus to Annie Cross and James Robertson Whittet, he was too young to see action in the Second World War but was old enough to bitterly recall in later life the hardships, privations and rationing endured by his generation during and after the war.
He joined the civilian police service as a constable with the then City of Dundee Police Force in 1954, after two years' national service. He had additionally volunteered for service in the military police and subsequently served as an armed military police officer in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Based at South Road, Lochee, he first served as a local beat constable when police boxes in the Hawkill, Sinderins and Perth Road areas of the city served as vital hard-wired command and control communications centres to and from police headquarters in Bell Street.
On moving to the city from Coupar Angus, both he and wife Ellen first lived above the police station in Lochee. He studied hard for promotion and passed his sergeant exams on the first attempt which put him on the first step of the promotions ladder.
He then steadily rose up the ranks, first as inspector, chief inspector and then as superintendent in the former City of Dundee.
He was invited to teach trainee and promotion-candidate constables as a visiting lecturer at Tulliallan, on operational policing issues and also on wider police and society issues, including the key democratic concept of policing by popular consent.
Regarded as firm but fair by court prosecutors, defence lawyers, contemporaries and criminals alike, he prided himself on the fact that in a 30-year career that took him from frontline beat policing on foot to desk-driving a force of some 1000 men and women, his service record was completely complaint-free.
On further promotion to chief superintendent, he was officer in charge/aka Gold Commander of many high-profile public order events, such as a number of official visits to Dundee and Tayside by members of the Royal family, including the Queen. He was also match commander for countless football matches involving Dundee and Dundee United. Latterly, he acted as assistant chief constable and regularly master-minded police and security operations for various political party conferences in Dundee and Perth - most prominently when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister in the 1980s.
He always prioritised road and public safety in all council works, traffic management, road/motorway development and/or traffic orders schemes - presenting lay councillors in Dundee, Perth and Tayside with professional, logical and best practice recommendations and solutions.
Mr Whittet was a committed and principled opponent of automated criminalisation of otherwise law-abiding motorists by speed cameras.
He believed they were a political sop and impractical in preventing more serious traffic law offences and needlessly undermined public support for the fundamental policy of policing by consent. This insight was based in part on a decade of professional experience as a Grade-1 police driving instructor and highway patrol officer.
In the late 1990s, he created the Professional Policing Through Professional Management corporate slogan for the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (ASPS) as part of a campaign co-ordinated by his businessman son Mark Whittet, which successfully persuaded the Scottish Government to retain the key management police ranks of superintendent and chief superintendent - contrary to the recommendations of a UK government report. It had urged that these ranks be abolished on cost-saving grounds.
On retirement from Tayside Police, he transferred his lifetime of experience, skills, knowledge and professional qualifications in traffic law and public sector management to the private sector as health and safety manager with Harry Lawson Ltd, the prominent Broughty Ferry-based haulage contractor.
Retirement also allowed him to fully indulge his private passion for renovating and restoring period cars and motorbikes. A self-taught but highly-skilled technician, he restored a number of vintage and veteran motor vehicles - many on the point of terminal destruction in local scrapyards - to showroom condition.
These included a vintage Rudge Ulster 500cc 'big thumper' single-cylinder 1930s-era motorcycle, a similar vintage 1930s Morris-8 and a 1950s Wolsely 15/50 saloon.
During national service in the Far East, he was frequently required to drive vintage army vehicles and automotive exotica (such as six-wheel-drive tank recovery and left-hand drive and multi-gearbox 'shift-stick' trucks) abandoned by the US military on VJ Day in 1945 - all of which required a knowledge of automotive technology, physical skills, co-ordination and stamina almost unimaginable by today's motorists.
He readily confessed he was a frustrated engineer who had taught himself in retirement how to re-design, renovate and re-build his own home in Coupar Angus, and its garage and workshops and a 1930s-period antique greenhouse, where he and wife Ellen delighted in later life in cultivating a rare vine-plant from which they fermented its grapes into a distinctive home-made "Perthshire-nouveau" vin-rouge.They shared this with friends, family, and former police colleagues from around the world.
His policing professionalism and commitment to public service were formally recognised by the Queen when he was honoured with the award of the Queen's Police Medal (QPM) in 1986.
He is survived by wife Ellen, son Mark, daughter Anne and four grandchildren.
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