Police officer.

 

Born: November 26, 1943;

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Died: February 1, 2015.

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.

He was undoubtedly a visionary recognising that the police service required a fundamental change in direction in how it dealt with the media. Despite some opposition he dragged the force into the 20th century in terms of media relations at a time in the late 1970s and early 80s when it was the policy to reveal as little as possible to journalists let alone proactively volunteer information or allow television crews to accompany officers at live operational incidents.

He was a familiar face on STV's Crimedesk, presented by the late Bill Knox, and played a significant part as an advisor and facilitator in the early days of the hugely success Taggart series.

The trust and mutual respect he developed with journalists was unparalleled by any police force in Scotland and that relationship would often place incredible demands on his personal life as he was, in effect, never off duty.

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.

He was married to Katie and had one daughter, but within a year of Lockerbie he suffered his own personal tragedy when Katie died very suddenly after a short illness.

Although clearly bereft, his professionalism never faltered as he set about developing new work practices and introducing new technology that would enable the police to embrace the emerging 24-hour news demands.

Away from work, he was never happier than in the peaceful surroundings of the beautiful Isle of Coll in the Inner Hebrides where he had a family home.

He married Fiona in 1993 and following his retirement a year later they moved to Coll permanently. He was honorary president of the Coll Association and through his creativity, tireless dedication and organisational ability he established the solid foundations that remain in place today and as a result the association continues to flourish.

It will come as no surprise to those who knew him that he immersed himself in island life, working at the small airport and in general doing all he could to improve the quality of life for the people, his people. He was familiar sight on the island in his yellow oilskins tending to his creels in his small fishing boat or on the hillside looking after his treasured Hebridean sheep.

He fought his illness with great courage and dignity. Although gravely ill he was determined to return from hospital in Glasgow to his home at Cloiche on the Isle of Coll where he passed away peacefully in the presence of his loving wife, Fiona, in the place that was so close to his heart.

He was a colleague, a dear friend, and a gentleman, who will be sadly missed by so many but will never be forgotten.

IAIN T GORDON