DEATH AT 81 OF FORMER COUNTY POLICE CHIEF

Date: Saturday 2nd January 1999

A FORMER Chief Constable of Cumberland and Westmorland Constabulary, Frank Williamson, who later resigned from a top Home Office post when he claimed the Metropolitan Police Force was riddled with corruption, has died, aged 81.

Mr. Williamson, whose family hailed from Eden, died on Christmas Day. He spent his boyhood at Langwathby and his father, John, who was also a former Chief Constable of Northampton, was born at Long Marton. His mother, Mary, who was killed in a road accident, was an Addison from Tebay before her marriage.

Mr. Williamson joined Manchester City Police in 1936. After Army service during the war and three years with the Military Police in Europe, he returned to the Manchester force and became a sergeant in 1953.

Five years later he was made a detective superintendent and, in 1961, he became Chief Constable of the Cumberland and Westmorland force. He spent four years in the area, living in Penrith, before taking up an Home Office appointment.

In 1965, he investigated the Southend police force after the suspension of its Chief Constable, who was subsequently jailed. Mr. Williamson was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in 1966 and, the following year, he switched from full-time police work to become an Inspector of Constabulary, with a brief to ensure that crime was tackled uniformly everywhere.

In 1968, he recommended a strengthening of the regional crime squads, with their emphasis on the investigation of criminals rather than specific crimes.

His appointment to head the inquiry into the Metropolitan Force should have been the peak of his career but it ended in controversy when he claimed he found “not a rotten apple but a barrel of rotten apples” and, disturbed by the lack of support he was receiving for his investigation from superior officers and the Government, Mr. Williamson resigned in disgust.

He later became head of security for the Co-op in Manchester and then for chemical giants ICI. He also assisted author Peter Flannery in the reconstruction of the investigation of the Met. in the acclaimed BBC drama Our Friends in the North.

Mr. Williamson is survived by his wife, Margaret, whom he married in 1943, and their daughter, Helen.