THE BOOK: “In the Office of Constable”
“This is a vivid, tactless, opinionated, generous, funny and vital book”
After his retirement my father was asked by several publishers to write a book about his career in the Police. He decided to accept the offer from William Collins, as the company had offered his father-in-law, Daniel Leahy, an apprenticeship as a printer in Glasgow after the First World War, which resulted in my grandfather having a very successful and satisfying career in newspaper production.
My father said that he found writing the book a very laborious process and that he was very relieved when he finished it! He realised that it would cause public controversy but he believed that it was important to give a clear account of his working life and his reasons for the choices he made. Everything he wrote came from personal experience and from what he had learned as a result of it, and many years later he told me that he still stood by every word that he had written.
People who have read his book recently have commented that the issues that he wrote about are as relevant now as they were in the 1970s. This is why I believe that “In the Office of Constable” is a vitally important book, not only because it is a record of his formidable career as he rose from Constable to Commissioner, but also because the issues that he believed in – such as the ‘separation of powers’ so that the police do not become an agent of whatever government is in power, the importance of police accountability and the integrity of the legal system – still hold true for the Police Service today, because an independent Police Service is one of the major contributors and guarantors of a truly democratic society.