John Alderson (police officer)

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John Alderson
CBE QPM
John Alderson (police officer).jpg
Born (1922-05-28)28 May 1922
Died 7 October 2011(2011-10-07) (aged 89)
Nationality British
Education Barnsley Technical College
Occupation police officer
Years active 1955-1982
Known for community policing

John Cottingham Alderson CBE QPM (28 May 1922 – 7 October 2011) was a senior British police officer and expert on police and penal affairs.

Alderson was born in Barnsley, West Riding of Yorkshire, and educated at Barnsley Technical College. In 1938 he enlisted in the Highland Light Infantry as a boy soldier and reached the rank of Corporal before transferring to the Army Physical Training Corps in 1941. He served with the APTC in North Africa and Italy and left the Army in 1946 with the rank of Warrant Officer Class II.[1]

He then joined the West Riding Constabulary as a Constable, representing the force in boxing and rugby. He attended the National Police College in 1954 and was promoted Inspector in 1955 (after the statutory minimum nine years' service) and Superintendent in 1960. In 1956 he was a British Memorial Foundation Fellow in Australia and that year he was also called to the bar by the Middle Temple. He attended the Senior Command Course at the Police College in 1963–1964 and was then appointed Deputy Chief Constable of Dorset.[1]

In 1966, he transferred to the Metropolitan Police in London as Deputy Commander (Administration and Operations) and in 1967 became second-in-command of No.3 District (North-East London). In 1968 he became Deputy Assistant Commissioner (Training) and in 1970 was seconded as Commandant of the National Police College. In 1973 he returned to London as Assistant Commissioner "D" (Personnel and Training),[2] but remained in the post less than a year before being appointed Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall in November 1973,[3] where he remained until his retirement in May 1982.

While Chief Constable he acquired a reputation for radical ideas which were not always popular with other senior police officers, who regarded him as "soft", and was also a champion of community policing.[4] Alderson was frequently portrayed in the media as the polar opposite to James Anderton, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester from 1976 to 1991, who was seen as a champion of hardline, aggressive policing and a more punitive criminal justice system.

He was awarded the Queen's Police Medal (QPM) in 1974 and appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1981.

He became a Fellow Commoner of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and a fellow of the Cambridge Institute of Criminology in 1982 and was also Gwilym Gibbon Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford from 1982 to 1983. He was Visiting Professor of Police Studies at the University of Strathclyde from 1983 to 1989 and a research fellow at the Institute of Police and Criminological Studies at the University of Portsmouth from 1994 to 2000. He returned to Australia in 1987 as Australian Commonwealth Fellow with the Australian Government. He often commentated on police matters in the media.

Alderson was a member of the Liberal Party and unsuccessfully contested the Devon parliamentary seat of Teignbridge in 1983. He served as a consultant on human rights to the Council of Europe from 1981 and was a member of the BBC General Advisory Council from 1971 to 1978. He also served on the committee of the Royal Humane Society from 1973 to 1981 and was president of the Royal Life-Saving Society from 1974 to 1978.

Alderson married Irené Macmillan Stirling in 1948; they had one son.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Robert Reiner (Jan 2015). "Alderson, John Cottingham (1922–2011)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/104206.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ "Yard man to be Chief Inspector of Constabulary", The Times, 25 October 1972
  3. ^ "Latest Appointments", The Times, 24 August 1973
  4. ^ "Alderson's deputy to be chief constable", The Times, 13 March 1982

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Police appointments
Preceded by
Unknown
Deputy Chief Constable of Dorset
1964–1966
Succeeded by
Unknown
Preceded by
Unknown
Deputy Commander (Administration and Operations), Metropolitan Police
1966–1967
Succeeded by
Unknown
Preceded by
Unknown
Deputy Commander, No.3 District, Metropolitan Police
1967–1968
Succeeded by
Unknown
Preceded by
Unknown
Deputy Assistant Commissioner (Training), Metropolitan Police
1968–1970
Succeeded by
Unknown
Preceded by
Colin Woods
Commandant of the National Police College
1970–1973
Succeeded by
James Walker
Preceded by
John Mastel
Assistant Commissioner "D", Metropolitan Police
1973
Succeeded by
Henry Hunt
Preceded by
Ronald Greenwood
Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall
1973–1982
Succeeded by
David East