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'Difficult to replace': Suffolk pays tribute to longest serving officer

Tributes have been paid to a serving Joint Major Investigation Team detective who has died aged 73.

Colleagues have united in tribute to the force's longest-serving officer who loved the job so much he came out of retirement.

Mick Rainbird had given more than 55 years of service to the Constabulary where he began by joining Suffolk Cadets in 1966 before becoming an officer in 1967.

After 30 years of service, he retired as a Special Branch detective sergeant in 1997 returning almost immediately as a police staff member working in Ipswich.

His death last month was revealed publicly by the force's Chief Constable last week.

Colleagues have spoken to Police Oracle about his remarkable career with the force.

T/Detective Superintendant Mike Brown said: “I don’t think he ever considered not staying with us and working with us. 

“In his words he said ‘whilst I’m fit and able I want to continue working. The job I’m doing is taking me back to my policing years. I enjoy the company and the camaraderie.’” 

In 2008, Mr Rainbird joined the newly formed JMIT, where he remained until his death. He reached the 50 year milestone in 2017 for which he received an award of recognition in 2018. 

He was also shortlisted for the Police Person of the Year award as part of the Stars of Suffolk awards in November 2019. 

T/Detective Superintendant Mike Brown explained: “Being a detective and the investigative world was what he loved to do, so when he got the opportunity to come back as an enquiry officer in 2008 he joined the major crime team - it was exactly what he wanted to do. 

“There was so much he knew and so much he could give and whilst policing in that time has moved on tremendously he was able to keep up. 

“Not only [have we lost] a dear friend and colleague to all those he worked with, but equally as a detective and an enquiry officer, that person with that investigative mind, it is always difficult to replace somebody like that.” 

Across his career, he had worked in a number of departments including CID, the Drugs Sqaud, Crime Squad and Special Branch at the port of Felixstowe. 

T/Detective Superintendant Mike Brown went on describe the overtime shifts Mr Rainbird would take on as a civilian member of staff when Ipswich town were playing. 

“He was an avid Ipswich fan,” he explained. “We used to police the gates back then, you’d come in on a football shift and Mick was there with the tabards and the sign in sheet, he knew where everyone was meant to be and what everybody was meant to be doing. 

“If you got the opportunity there was a little tea room, a police room, and you could get in there during the match or at half time and you could always guarantee you’d find Mick in there. And the hot tea was there, the biscuits occasionally might have got handed out.” 

In amongst commendations, he has been described as always taking a keen interest in his staff and being very “welfare-minded,”  always looking out for staff that he worked alongside and supervised. 

In recent years, he had trained as a Trauma Risk Management officer. 

Following Mr Rainbird’s death Chief Constable Steve Jupp said: “Mick epitomises for me why we are all so proud of Suffolk Constabulary and those that work within this organisation.

“He was committed to giving his all to this county and those that live here, with a desire to protect those most vulnerable from harm. Equally significant was the importance he placed on the health and happiness of those he worked with.

“His love for his policing family is clear from his extraordinary service. He gave so much to Suffolk Constabulary and will be deeply missed by all those that knew and worked with him.” 

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