Joseph Louis Canepa RIP
Former Commissioner of Police, Joseph Louis Canepa QPM CPM FBIM, who sadly died in the early hours of Sunday morning, aged 78 years, served with the Royal Gibraltar Police from 1951 to 1997.
The longest serving Commissioner with the service, who had a distinguished career was commended on eight different occasions for a host of reasons, but most notably for his police investigations and acts of bravery.
Mr Canepa was promoted to Commissioner of Police in 1987 and his command skills were tested very soon after, when in 1988 together with the British Security Services he led an investigation that thwarted a terrorist attack on Gibraltar by the former terrorist group known as the Provisional Irish Republican Army [PIRA]. For his part in this very sensitive operation the Former Commissioner of Police was awarded the very prestigious Queens Police Medal and the then former Governor of Gibraltar, Commander in Chief, Sir Peter Terry, who himself shortly after became a victim of a terrorist attack by the PIRA, described Mr Canepas leadership as no exaggeration to say that without his skills, and calm and confident judgement, the events may not have turned out as well as they did. Gibraltar and the United Kingdom owe Commissioner Canepa a great debt of gratitude.
In 1992, Commissioner Canepa received news from her Majesty the Queen, who bestowed the Royal prefix upon the Gibraltar Police. This was a very proud moment for the former commissioner who had done a lot to achieve this honour.
In 1995, Mr Canepa was at the forefront in leading the police service to combat the illicit fast launch activity and on the 7th of July 1995, Gibraltar witnessed unseen violence and civil disorder. Public order was quickly restored and on the 12th of July 1995, the people of Gibraltar responded by demonstrating in their thousands to support the former Commissioner. This was equally echoed when His Royal Highness Prince Andrew visited the former Commissioner to congratulate him and the rank and file.
Mr Canepa retired from the Royal Gibraltar Police in 1997, but always maintained his close links with the police service and worked towards promoting and safeguarding the interests of pensioners on the Rock as Chairman of the Pensioners Association.
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