In The Spotlight – Andy Fowler

Tell us a little about your current job

Along with my 20 security officers, we look after the physical security of Forth Valley Royal Hospital as well as the safety of staff, patients and visitors. We also manage traffic entering the site and, of course, the use of the car parks – often a very thankless task but it’s far from doom and gloom.

The Team is based in a state-of-the-art Control Room and, as well as patrols, monitor the site, which is covered by 200 CCTV cameras. There are high security door systems and we also monitor alarm systems, which include Fire, Intruder, Panic, Public Disabled Toilet, Medical Gasses and Building Management.

Your previous career?

Aged just 15, I began as an apprentice pipe fitter with the Motherwell Bridge Engineering Company. Two years later, I moved to the Gourock Rope Works, New Lanark, as a charge hand leading a team of twenty women producing yarn for fishing nets and electric fences for farmers! I worked in New Lanark until I followed my big brother into the Police Service, and then my wee brother joined making our parents very proud.

My starting police station was Abington, where we policed the A74, then described as ‘Scotland’s killer road’. The speed of vehicles meant fatalities were common, but I am not haunted by these deaths. It may sound bizarre now but following devastating outbreaks of Sheep Scab, police officers in rural areas had to visit farms to make sure farmers were using the correct chemicals and dipping sheep in accordance with the regulations.

Moving through the ranks – and successfully helping to solve some murders – I was promoted to Inspector in the East End of Glasgow, experiencing some fairly hectic moments during ‘Old Firm’ football matches. A secondment to the Emergency Planning Unit meant a visit to Hunterston Power Station, which had the hairs standing on the back of my neck – perhaps it was the whine of the reactor!

In a ‘moment of madness’ I decided to retire and although I regretted the decision a week later I stubbornly refused to change my mind. Security work then became my mantra.

The prized possession you value above all others?

It’s an engineer’s cold chisel made for me by my father who was a chief engineer in the collieries when I was a student at engineering school.

The temptation you wish you could resist?

Thinking aloud.

A funny moment?

A Scotland/England game, where we were keeping back the England supporters while we set up a cordon outside the ground. I was standing with my back to the 15ft high steel gate but as fans surged forward when the gate opened, I was picked up, my radio harness hooked on the gate handle and I was left dangling with my feet four feet off the ground!

Sad Moment?

Having to recover the body of a three-year-old boy who had wandered onto the Glasgow to London West Coast train line. He’d been standing between the rails watching the train approaching.

What Song Means Most to You?

Meat Loaf – Bat out of Hell. I’ve been to three or four of his concerts and he’s absolutely fabulous.

24 Hours to travel anywhere – where would you go?

Norway to fish for salmon

Your Pet Hate?

Drivers closing up/not reigning in to leave a gap for cars coming off slip roads.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I had very little interest in school, spending my time looking out of classroom windows. Being pulled up was a daily occurrence. Given my time again I would tell myself to study harder.

 If you had a million pounds?

A million pounds is not enough to buy a big piece of kit but I would certainly buy something for this hospital. I have built up such a good relationship with staff here I would like to say thank you.