ANGUS Macpherson, police and crime commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, is back on form as he recovers from a sudden cardiac arrest at the end of May.
Two days after returning from a holiday in Paris, Angus was attending a function in Trowbridge on May 30 when he collapsed and had to be taken to hospital in Bath.
After having a pacemaker fitted at Swindon’s Great Western Hospital, he is now back in the office two days a week and trying to fill the hole in his memory after suffering brain trauma.
“It is a bit disconcerting having a hole in one’s memory, but it has slowly all become clear what has been going on,” he said. “I do not feel too much out of the loop.
“I cannot remember my holiday at all. I have no recollection of the day before it happened, or going to the meeting in Trowbridge that day for that matter.
“I have got this thing in my chest now that keeps me ticking, and it is easier to come in two days a week to deal with the important things that arrive than sit at home and worry about all the work coming up. I am feeling fine and excited to be back.”
The cardiac arrest did not come as a huge suprise to Angus as the family has been battling genetic heart conditions for generations.
“We have been checking out our hearts as a family,” he said.
“My father died recently of a heart condition, and my son had a pacemaker put in even before I did. My daughter is being looked at at the moment.
“There was absolutely no warning sign that I can remember, and losing a whole week of my memory was very odd. The first thing I remember was about two weeks later waking up in RUH in Bath. I was just very confused about what was going on at first, and catching up with everything that happened has been quite disjointed.
“Two days a week I will be in the office, and on Mondays I will be attending a charity called Headway, which helps people with brain injuries and memory loss to piece things together.
“It is more of a counselling process, and we do all sorts of tests and quizzes to try to get your mind going again.
“We will see how it goes and review my working days next month.
“I have probably been working a bit too much, but it is not a level of work I am unused to. Maybe it just all builds up and hits you suddenly. I found it difficult to have a day off but I will be keeping an eye on things.”
His first act back was to sign a merger of forensic services with forces from across the south-west.
“We are looking at the benefit of pooled expertise, becoming more specialised as we go forward,” he said.
“All the commissioners are looking at things we might do well that we can do for others as well. The recent murder in Swindon was a prime example, led by Wiltshire detective Sean Memory supported by specialists from Avon and Somerset.
“We do not often have siege operations in Swindon, but it went very smoothly by sharing expertise.”
Over coming months Angus will be overseeing the mergers of police stations in Wiltshire with local authority offices, starting in Salisbury.
“This week I will be visiting the new Bourne Hall police station in Salisbury after the old building closed,” he said. “We will also be building a new custody suite over there. Sharing resources with the local authority is something we are looking at all over the county, including the town centre police point in Swindon.
“That is good for a Friday or Saturday night but by sharing offices with the local authority everyday action can be far more integrated.”