Jack Urquhart Memorial Lecture

This year’s Jack Urquhart Memorial Lecture was presented by Sir Harry Burns at the Scottish Police College – Tulliallan on 26th May 2015 and was attended by Jack’s widow Dorothy Urquhart who presented Sir Harry with a Quaich at the event.

Jack Urquhart was born in Lochgoilhead in 1946 and joined the Cadets in Renfrew and Bute Constabulary at the age of 16. This was the start of a long and distinguished career in the police service, during which he served with the City of Glasgow Police and, ultimately, Strathclyde Police.

His experience was wide and varied, from operational duties to policy and development posts, divisional command and head of force training.  However, it was the interests of the superintending ranks that he focused on in the later stages of his career.

In 1990, Jack was appointed as an Honorary Secretary of ASPS and in 1995 became its President.  That same year, Jack was awarded the QPM in recognition of his outstanding contribution to policing.  In 1998, he took on the role of General Secretary and worked vociferously to ensure that the voice of superintendents was heard.

Jack was involved in a number of challenging issues during his time with the Association, such as the amassing of evidence on firearms reforms for the Cullen inquiry into the Dunblane shootings.  He also played an influential role in the UK Police Negotiating Board and is remembered for his professional acumen and tireless endeavour.

Jack passed away in December 2002 and members of ASPS felt a great sense of loss and a desire to ensure that his legacy to Scottish policing was marked.  For that reason members’ agreed to honour his memory by holding an annual Lecture in his name.

ASPS has been privileged to have many distinguished speakers at previous Jack Urquhart Memorial Lectures and this year that tradition was continued with its guest speaker Sir Harry Burns, Scotland’s highly-esteemed Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Strathclyde.

As a consultant surgeon at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary Sir Harry was keen to find the reasons behind the illnesses he encountered at the hospital.  He worked with patients in the east end of Glasgow which gave him an insight into the complex interrelationships between associate economic status and illness.

In 1990 he undertook a master’s degree in public health and in 1993 he became Director of Public Health for Greater Glasgow, remaining there until 2005 when he took up post as the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland.  In 2014 he commenced his current role as Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Strathclyde and travels extensively contributing to, and learning from, vital research being conducted in various countries across the globe.

Sir Harry was knighted in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours and presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in December 2014.