In April 1969 Maurice Garvie joined the Metropolitan Police Fingerprint Branch at New Scotland Yard as a trainee Fingerprint Expert. After a compulsory 5 year apprenticeship he qualified as a Fingerprint Expert and commenced a period of eleven years of crime scene examination proudly carrying with him at all times his official ID card which stated, “The bearer of this card, Maurice Vincent Sylvester Garvie is a member of the Fingerprint and Photographic Branch, Criminal Investigation Department, Metropolitan Police”. It was duly signed, ‘ J.L.Waldron’, Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis’.
During his 11 years as a District Fingerprint Officer he attended over 7000 crimes scenes throughout the West, and North West London Police Districts of, Q, X, F and I. During this period, and beyond, he prepared and presented Expert Witness evidence at many Magistrate, Crown and Coroner Courts in London and the Home Counties. Court Number One at the ‘Old Bailey’, the Central Criminal Court bore witness to him giving Expert evidence in two separate cases of murder and one of armed robbery.
Further promotion followed which brought him back to New Scotland Yard and to the Fingerprint Branch where over the next fifteen years he managed teams of Fingerprint Officers whose role was to search and identify finger & palm marks obtained from crime scenes and to check, and cross check, arrestee fingerprints against various home, and International databases.
In the year 2000, he was tasked by the Head of the Fingerprint Branch to manage the Branch Centenary celebrations planned for June 2001. The Branch was established at Scotland Yard in 1901 by Assistant Commissioner Sir Edward Henry* – a Catholic, born in London to Irish Parents in 1850.
Throughout 2000 and into 2001 he managed to negotiate £175,000 of sponsorship from various UK and international sources, the largest ever sponsorship agreement in the history of the MPS. This helped finance in Central London, at The Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre, a three-day International Identification Conference, and a Trade Show which brought in additional revenue of £60,000. The conference which was opened by H.R.H. The Duke of Gloucester and The Commissioner of the Metropolis attracted 1,200 delegates. The conference culminated at the end of the Centenary week with a Gala Ball attended by 850 guests.
Centenary celebrations over he returned to his Management role within the Fingerprint Branch which had now been integrated within an expanding MPS Directorate of Forensic Services. In 2010 the Director of Forensic Services asked him to take on the role of Marketing and Event Manager for Forensic Services.
On the 21st June 2013, he retired after 44 years, 7 weeks and 3 days of service, becoming one of the longest-serving members of the MPS.
His introduction to the Catholic Police Guild was in 1999 when he offered his services to act as a Steward at the funeral of the late Cardinal Basil Hume.
For services rendered, he was made a Fellow of the Guild in 2014.
*Sir Edward Richard Henry – The Fingerprint Branch was established at New Scotland Yard on the 1st July 1901 by Assistant Commissioner (Crime) Sir Edward Richard Henry whose fingerprint classification system revolutionised the identification of criminals throughout the world. He devised his unique fingerprint classification system in 1896/7 during his tenure as the Inspector General of the Bengal Police 1890-1900. In 1914 in his capacity as Commissioner of the Metropolis, Sir Edward authorised the creation of The Catholic Police Guild of England and Wales. In retirement he was to become one of the Guild’s Honorary Presidents.
In his honour, an English Heritage blue plaque was unveiled at his London home during the Fingerprint Branch Centenary week. It was unveiled by Sir David Veness, CBE, QPM., Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations, Metropolitan Police.