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Laureation address: John Carnochan

John Carnochan OBE QPM FFPH
Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws

Laureation by Dr Damien J Williams
School of Medicine

Monday 1 December 2014


Chancellor, it is my privilege to present John Carnochan for the Degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

I am honoured to have been given this opportunity to celebrate the achievements of my colleague, mentor, and friend John Carnochan OBE QPM FFPH.

John spent 39 years with the police serving in the main as a detective. During this time he undertook various roles in the investigation of serious crime, and in particular as a senior investigating officer in homicide inquiries. John rose through the ranks and was Detective Chief Superintendent with Strathclyde Police until his retirement in February 2013.

In 2005 John co-founded the Violence Reduction Unit initially with the remit of developing and implementing a strategy to bring about sustainable reductions in violence within Strathclyde. In 2006 this remit was widened to include the whole of Scotland, with the full support of the Scottish Government. Under John’s joint leadership, the Unit adopted an enlightened approach to violence that deviated considerably from the traditional, reactive criminal justice approach of investigate, arrest, and punish. It seeks to empower victims, and support rather than just punish perpetrators, to overcome the circumstances that often lead them to be involved in violence. Moreover, it seeks to be proactive, rather than reactive, by addressing the root causes of violence and preventing it from occurring in the first place. In so doing, John has overseen a variety of successful initiatives tackling knife crime, gang and domestic violence.

Upon his retirement from the police, John joined St Andrews for 12 months as a specialist Knowledge Exchange Consultant, and remains actively involved in violence prevention both nationally and internationally working with the likes of the World Health Organisation, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Scottish Government, to name just a few.

John has received many accolades including the Queen’s Police Medal in 2007 for distinguished police service; he was made a Fellow by distinction of the Faculty of Public Health in 2010 for his work in violence prevention, and an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2013 for services to community safety; and in 2014 the Worldwide Alternatives to ViolEnce (WAVE) Trust appointed John as its second Senior Fellow for his work to prevent child maltreatment (the first being Professor Sir Harry Burns, former Chief Medical Officer for Scotland).

Throughout his career, John has been supported by his wife of 40 years, Anita, who is with us today, and by their two daughters Laura and Rachel, both of whom are forging their own successful careers.

John has the unique ability to cross disciplinary boundaries, interweaving the reality of what happens in communities and homes with theory and philosophy. His charisma, expertise, and commitment has changed the landscape of violence prevention in Scotland and further afield, and continues to do so.

Chancellor, in recognition of his major contribution to violence prevention policy, practice, and advocacy, I invite you to confer on John Carnochan the Degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

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