A prestigious police commendation normally reserved for officers who put their lives on the line has been awarded to a retiring detective who spent much of his career in Shetland.
The Chief Constable’s Commendation has been given to detective superintendent Gordon Urquhart for his dedication and commitment to policing in the Highlands and Islands.
The special recognition – the first to be awarded under chief constable Ian Latimer’s tenure – is usually kept for officers who risk their lives for the community they serve.
However Mr Latimer 52-year-old Mr Urquhart was particularly worthy of the recognition for his efforts over the years.
“I have great pleasure in awarding my commendation for exemplary leadership, an outstanding professional contribution to the development of crime investigation and management within Northern Constabulary and for his committed support of the chief constable throughout his tenure as the head of crime,” he said. “I would like to wish him a very happy and healthy retirement.”
Mr Urquhart said he had thoroughly enjoyed his time with Northern Constabulary, and added: “The 34 years seem like a lifetime. There have been highs and lows. The highs are probably pretty parochial, like solving any kind of crime.
“There have been lows but I have been fortunate to have worked with a terrific bunch of people who have turned the lows into challenges. By working as a team we have been able to work through things together.
“For that reason I would not change a thing and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I was extremely honoured, as well as humbled, to receive a commendation from the chief constable when I officially retired last Friday. It meant the world to me and I will cherish it.”
Mr Urquhart joined Northern Constabulary through the cadet scheme on 19th August 1975, and was sworn in as a police constable on 24th April the following year.
In his early days as a police officer he served in Inverness, Kyle of Lochalsh and Beauly, but it is his two stints in Lerwick that people in the isles will remember him for.
Promoted to sergeant in May 1990, and assumed the role of detective sergeant in Lerwick.
In November 1996 he earned promotion to inspector and remained in Shetland until 1998 when he returned to Inverness to take on the role of detective chief inspector at force HQ.
In 2003 he was promoted to head of crime at force HQ and the rank of detective superintendent.
During that time he led the team which brought the successful prosecution of Michael Ross for the 1992 murder of Bangladeshi waiter Shamsuddin Mahmood in Orkney.
Mr Urquhart is married to Anne, who is still a serving police officer with Northern Constabulary, and together they have a son and a daughter.