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Former weekly reporter turned police press officer dies aged 44

Joe Head

Tributes have been paid to a former regional press journalist turned police press officer who has died at the age of 44.

Joe Head, left, worked as a reporter for the Totnes Times before joining the PR department of Devon and Cornwall Police in 2002, remanning there until his death.

During his time with the police, he was given a prestigious Chief Constable’s commendation for his work during the attempted bombing of Exeter city centre in 2008.

Joe died after a long illness and his funeral was held in Totnes last Thursday.

A tribute was paid to him by friend Steve Peacock, a former Torquay Herald Express reporter, who now works for the Totnes Times.

He told the Herald Express: “I knew Joe very well. His office was 50 yards from mine when he was working at the Totnes Times. I offered him advice which he quite rightly didn’t take and bought me bottles of beer instead.

“He was a great bloke. He was also extremely professional and I personally will miss him a lot.”

Joe became a public relations assistant in 2002 and since then has worked as a PR officer and most recently as a media services officer in the corporate communications department, where he was highly regarded by the journalists from local papers that he dealt with.

Joe spent much of his latter career working from Paignton and Torquay police stations supporting the Torbay and South Devon command team with their media engagement.

Tanya Croft, police head of corporate communications, said: “Joe was held in high regard by all those who worked with him. He was best known for his wicked sense of humour and there was never a dull moment when he was around.

“His death, following a long illness, is a very sad loss, not only to his family, his friends and colleagues, but also to the force.”