Both John’s father and grandfather served with Hampshire Constabulary, but John joined the Metropolitan Police and served with them until he was made Assist Chief Constable of Surrey Police. He came to Hampshire in 1983 as the Deputy Chief Constable and moved up to Chief Constable in 1988. He was a prominent Chief Constable who was President of the Association of Chief Police Officers in 1995. He played a major role in the development of Automatic Fingerprint Recognition and the security inquiry after the bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton in 1984. He was awarded the CBE in 1994 and was knighted in 1998. He retired in 1999 and tragically died in 2001.
SIR JOHN went to Barton Peveril Grammar School, Eastleigh, and joined the Metropolitan Police as a cadet in 1961. He became a constable in 1963 and was promoted sergeant in 1967 and inspector in 1969. Later that year he attended Trinity College, Cambridge, where he gained a second class honours degree in law and economics in 1972.
He returned to police duties in London’s West End Central police station where he served for three years, and received three Commissioner’s Commendations.
In 1975 Sir John was promoted to chief inspector when he transferred to the obscene publications squad. In 1977 he was promoted to superintendent and served at Paddington police station before transferring to the drug squad as Detective superintendent.
He was then promoted to chief superintendent and in January 1981 was appointed officer in charge of the CID at West End Central. In June 1981 Sir John became assistant chief constable (operations) with Surrey police. He was appointed deputy chief constable in Hampshire in September 1983 and became chief constable on September 1 1988, retiring in September 1999.
He was president of ACPO in 1994/5, and was knighted in the Queen’s birthday honours of June 1998. Sir John was married to Avril , and they had two daughters, Louise and Rebecca.
He was to lead a major investigation into a police shooting in Sussex, where he condemned Sussex Chief Constable, Mr Whitehouse and other senior officers for attempting to justify the shooting. Sir John said he had found “prima facie evidence” of wilful neglect of duty by Mr Whitehouse.
In 2001, after his retirement he was helping develop a new police complaints system. He was using Operation Lancet, an inquiry into corruption in Cleveland police, as a blueprint for the work. He had been appointed to investigate the £7m Operation Lancet inquiry by Home Secretary, Jack Straw.
It was whilst on this enquiry Sir John sadly passed away whilst working in Middlesborough.
The Chief Constable of Hampshire Paul Kernaghan said: “Sir John’s death has come as a shock to me personally and to everyone associated with Hampshire Constabulary. Sir John was above all a husband and father but he was also an outstanding police officer. It would be fair comment to describe him as a giant professionally. As Chief Constable of Hampshire and president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Sir John scaled all the professional heights and was recognised as the outstanding officer of his time. He retired in 1999 but continued his commitment to public service both as a Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire and as a senior member of various government reviews. It says much for the man and his values that even whilst in retirement he was still ready and able to undertake work on behalf of the community. He will be missed. My thoughts and those of the entire force are with Lady Hoddinott and his girls.”