ASSISTANT CHIEF CONSTABLE WILLIAM MUNCIE QPM
ASSISTANT CHIEF CONSTABLE WILLIAM MUNCIE QPM
One of the most famous officers in the history of Lanarkshire Constabulary was William Muncie.
Mr. Muncie was most famously known for leading the investigation into several murders committed in the Lanarkshire area between 1956 and 1958. The serial killer Peter Manuel was convicted of these murders.
1. Anne Knielands – 2nd January 1956 in East Kilbride
2. Marion Watt – 17th September 1956 in Burnside
3. Vivienne Watt – “ “
4. Margaret Brown – “ “
5. Isabelle Cooke – 28th December 1958 in Uddingston
6. Peter Smart – 1st January 1959 in Uddingston
7. Michael Smart – “ “
8. Doris Smart – “ “
William Muncie was born on the 11th of January 1915 in Carluke. He spent his early years attending schools in Carluke and on leaving school took up employment as a Grocers Assistant at Wm. Dick Grocers, Clyde St, Carluke and later a Preserve Worker at R.W. Scott Ltd. Clydesdale Preserve Works, Clyde St, Carluke.
However, his passion lay elsewhere and on the 9th of March 1936 he wrote to Lanarkshire Constabulary applying to become a police officer. His referees were the senior management at the Clydesdale Preserve Works.
On the 14th of March 1936 he was visited at home by Sergeant Adam Bruce, stationed at Carluke. This proved a successful visit and he was invited for a medical examination on the 6th of July 1936.
He passed his medical with flying colours as that day the Chief Constable, Mr. A.N. Keith handed him a written offer of appointment to the office of Constable.
Mr. Muncie wasted no time and replied in writing that same day! All of this took place within the Headquarters of Lanarkshire Constabulary.
Again, on the 6th of July 1936, Mr. Muncie took the Affirmation of Oath to Office of Constable and Declaration under Sect. 26 of the Police (Scotland) Act 1890, in the presence of Mr. James Paterson J.P.
He was provided with the Lanarkshire Constabulary Pay No: 73197.
From there he was posted to the Recruiting Depot in Rutherglen where he was given basic training and instruction.
On the 1st of September 1936 he was posted to Shotts Police Station where he performed beat duties in and around the town. During his time at Shotts he sat his First Aid Ambulance courses.
He remained in Shotts for 3 years until the 2nd of March 1939 when he was posted to Viewpark. He was there for only a few months when his aptitude for criminal investigation work was recognised and he was appointed Detective Constable on the 13th of October 1939.
On the 11th of February 1941 he sat his Sergeants promotion examination. At that time the examination consisted of two parts. The first was general education and the second part related to police work and powers. He successfully passed both parts of the examination.
On the 10th of February 1942 he applied for and was permitted to sit his Inspectors promotion examination. He passed the Police aspect of the examination and unfortunately failed the education part.
On the 11th of March 1942 Mr Muncie married Agnes Matheson. They had two daughters, Jane born in 1943 and Sandra, born in 1952.
However on the 9th of February 1943 he re-sat the education part of the examination and passed. He was now eligible for promotion. However, promotion did not come very quickly and he remained a Detective Constable until the 19th of May 1948, when he was promoted Uniform Sergeant to Strathaven.
He remained at Strathaven for over two years until his promotion to Inspector on the 12th of October 1950. He was posted to Uddingston, his favourite posting.
To advance beyond the role of Inspector he had to attend senior training courses. He attended Course B.1 at the Scottish Police College, Upper Butlaw in South Queensferry between the 25th of April and the 8th of June 1951.
Between 1950 and 1953he attended Civil Defence basic training courses I and II and also the Civil Defence Rescue course. These were all held locally in Lanarkshire.
On the 17th of February 1956 he gained promotion to Chief Inspector at Bellshill. Between the 1st and 6th of October 1956 he attended the Civil Defence Warden Section Course No 179 at Taymouth Castle.
In August of 1957 he was temporarily transferred to Lanark to cover for Superintendent Andrew McClure, in his absence.
The 27th of April 1958 saw Mr Muncie return to the CID, on promotion, as Detective Superintendent (Grade 1), based at Force Headquarters in Hamilton. On the 7th of June 1961 he was made Detective Superintendent (Grade 2), and remained at Force Headquarters.
It was during his time as Detective Superintendent that Mr Muncie was involved in the Lanarkshire Constabulary investigation into the serial killer Peter Manuel, resulting in his conviction and execution.
Tragedy struck on Friday the 15th of June 1962 when he and other officers were returning from a conference in Dumfries. The car they were travelling in was involved in a collision in which the driver of their vehicle, Detective Superintendent Charles McNeill of the City of Glasgow police, Identification Bureau, was killed. The driver of the other car suffered a broken leg. The collision took place on the A74 near to Crawford in Lanarkshire.
Mr Muncie suffered minor injuries and was discharged later that evening together with Detective Inspector John McDonald of Coatbridge Burgh Police.
Another passenger, Detective Superintendent Tom Goodall of the City of Glasgow Police, was removed to the Western Infirmary in Glasgow with face and back injuries. He fully recovered from these injuries.
McNeill, Goodall and Muncie had all worked together on the Peter Manuel investigation.
On the 3rd of December 1967, Mr Muncie was promoted to Detective Chief Superintendent in charge of the Lanarkshire Constabulary CID. He remained at Force Headquarters in Hamilton.
On the 29th of September 1973 he was appointed Assistant Chief Constable of Lanarkshire Constabulary.
In 1974 Mr Muncie’s wife Agnes, died following a short illness.
He remained in his position until the 15th of May 1975 when Regionalisation took place. At that time Lanarkshire Constabulary became part of the newly formed Strathclyde Police.
Mr Muncie remained as Assistant Chief Constable for the Lanarkshire area of Strathclyde, which was known as Area 4. He was stationed at area Headquarters in Hamilton. He was given the Registered Number 210704 on this appointment.
Mr Muncie retired on the 27th of June 1976, having served for 39 years and 11 months as a police officer. That year Mr Muncie married Margaret Rennie Anderson in Edinburgh.
During retirement Mr Muncie wrote a book ‘The Crime Pond’, which was published in 1979 by Chambers. Mr Muncie, a keen observer of nature — animal as well as human —compared his police area as a ‘pond’ and compared the primal violence of nature with that of modern criminal society.
In total Mr Muncie was involved in 54 murder investigations during his service. Every one of which was solved. He did not take all the credit and is noted as saying that his record was a remarkable tribute to his colleagues, ‘whose loyalty, patience, determination (and at times humour) lightened the grim task’.
William Muncie died in 1988 and is buried at Carstairs Avenue Road Cemetery, Carstairs.
During his service Mr Muncie received the following medals:
WW2 Defence Medal
6th July 1958 Police Long Service & Good Conduct Medal
1st January 1967 Queens Police Medal (New Year Honours List)