My friend Ann Collier, who has died aged 70, was a dedicated senior professional in the criminal justice system, whose work at the Home Office formed the basis of the Sexual Offences Act. She was a strong believer in public service and social justice.
The daughter of Vera (nee Morris) and Joe Collier, a plumber, Ann was born and brought up, with her brother, Anthony, in Eccles, Greater Manchester. After leaving Adelphi House convent school, Salford, she got a degree in French at Reading University and a postgraduate diploma in social science/social work in 1974 from Kent University.
Working as a probation officer in the London area (1974-83) and later in a national role at HM Inspectorate of Probation (1991-2000), Ann cultivated high level skills of diplomacy and negotiation, also demonstrating the energy and patience necessary, for example, in guiding offenders on adventure weekends in the Welsh mountains. Ann had a strong talent for management which, during the 1980s, she deployed in leadership roles in charities such as Turning Point and the Burnbake Trust.
The peak of her career came in 2000 when Ann was recruited to the Home Office. There she led the team that was researching, framing and supporting the parliamentary approval process of what became the Sexual Offences Act, placed on the statute book in 2003. This was a significant, long-required amendment to UK law. Today it governs non-consensual sexual activity, including internet grooming. Subsequently, working in connection with child protection policy, Ann led the British government delegation to the international conference on child protection in Tokyo.
Ann was witty, wise and clever. In our 1970s friendship circle, she was the person who could cook. While some of us carried on proudly serving up indigestible versions of the pulse-based staples of the time, she became skilled and imaginative in the kitchen, hosting many lovely parties over the years. No one wanted to be omitted from Ann’s guest list.
Her enthusiasms also included science-fiction literature and film, travel and wildlife. She loved the mountains and lochs of Scotland. She met her future husband, Peter Redmond, on a skiing holiday in 1983 (he was the better skier; she the better ten-pin bowler) and they married in 1990.
In her late 50s Ann was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. In retirement, the development of other health conditions gradually led to her using a wheelchair. She put priority time into her friendships and her unswerving support for Arsenal FC.
She was lovingly supported to lead an amazingly full life by Peter, who survives her, as do two nieces, Ann and Jane.