Pioneering police officer;
Born March 25, 1925 ; Died: June 1, 2012
Irene Crichton Livingstone was a well-known police officer who joined Ayr burgh in 1951 as a plain clothes policewoman as there were no uniformed women at that time. The introduction of uniforms in 1952 was quite a talking point in Ayr prompting a child to say to his mother: "Look, a wummin dressed as a polis".
Ms Livingstone carried out her first undercover duties in a pram. As her father James, an inspector at Glasgow Central station (later to be stationmaster) during the General Strike of 1926 had the job of keeping the mail trains running, her mother, Elizabeth, one of the first women guards at Central Station during the First World War, walked all the way from Balshagray Avenue to bring James a change of clothing and food under the infant Irene's pram. She pushed through the picket lines, so it was little wonder that the baby would eventually end up in the police service. Her grandfather had joined the Metropolitan police at age 17, eventually becoming a sheriff officer in Aberdeen.
A shortage of vacancies in the police put her ambitions on hold and in 1948 she went to Detroit, Michigan, as a school superintendent. Family circumstances forced her to return to Glasgow where she joined Ayr burgh and then City of Glasgow police.
As depute force information officer she regularly appeared with the late Bill Know on STV's Crimewatch programme. Her breadth of experience was to prove indispensable during one of the most poignant episodes of her career, the Ibrox Disaster. She was on late shift duty, and helped with casualties and relatives before taking charge of the mortuary. In those days there was no counselling. She recalled this experience many times. She used to say: "I loved my career; I met so many nice people, some saints, some sinners.'
In her younger days she was a Scout mistress and took her troop to a jamboree in Canada. She loved her lads and spent many hours training them.
She was a descendant of the famous explorer David Livingstone and in his photograph the family likeness was visible.
When she retired as inspector, she took her mother to live in Prestwick, where she became an elder in Kincase Church. She founded the ex-City of Glasgow and Strathclyde Policewomen's reunion, which meets annually and celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.
Having been a seasoned broadcaster, she was invited by the BBC to take part in the largest radio oral history project ever undertaken. She thought she would be recalling her days as one of the few women police officers but she was in for a surprise. She was asked to recall her memories and views of the 20th century, which she did with such clarity from her childhood. She was taken aback when she was asked: "Did you have indoor plumbing?'
She had a busy retirement which she spent reading, stitching (her embroideries deck the houses of many of her friends) dog walking, photography, gardening and feeding the birds in her garden and in the adjoining field.
She never married, having lost a dear boyfriend, a Cockleshell hero, during the Second World War, but she was an honorary grandmother to several of her friends. They are going to miss her but have memories of the fun they had with her.
Sometime before she had to move to Berelands nursing home, where she died, she lost her beloved brother Ian, who had also been a constable in the City of Glasgow police. She will be missed by many people, as was apparent at her funeral.
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