Tributes paid to retired police Chief Superintendent and Divisional Commander Pennine Division Michael Griffin

Tributes have been paid to a retired senior police officer who has died after a long and distinguished career.
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Born in 1941 in Colne, Michael Griffin was the eldest of nine siblings of Irish parents from Galway who settled in Brierfield. He took on family responsibility early when his father died when Michael was 19.

Educated at Holy Trinity School, Brierfield, and St Mary's College, Blackburn, he joined the police cadets at Burnley in 1959 aged 17, before becoming an officer a year later - PC 51.

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He loved motorbikes so was happy to join the motorcycle unit in the early 60s, a role which lasted for three years before he was on the move again. Like many officers in those days, he went from pounding the beat onto traffic then CID.

Retired police Superintendent Michael GriffinRetired police Superintendent Michael Griffin
Retired police Superintendent Michael Griffin

In 1969 he won the Smith Cup for bravery after arresting a shop breaker after a struggle on an icy roof, a ‘gallant act in the best traditions of the service’.

He was an avid aircraft enthusiast and pilot, starting with gliding in the Air Training Corps and going on to fly solo in light aircraft. He also competed in Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling during this time.

In 1970 he married Sylvia Thornber and in 1973 they had a daughter, Jeanine.

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Whilst his daughter was young, he studied for a degree in Human Geography with the Open University. He had a strong work ethic and graduated with his BA in 1980.

After CID, he returned to uniformed duty and progressed through the ranks, regularly working in court as prosecution officer.

Mike returned to Burnley in 1983 and was soon dispatched to America to observe how the new Neighbourhood Watch scheme was shaping up. It was a "wonderful experience" for him and on his return he successfully met the challenge of getting a similar project off the ground.

Promotion to sub-divisional commander followed and he had spells at Burnley, Blackburn and Colne. He returned to Burnley in 1994 and remained as Chief Superintendent and Divisional Commander in 1996.

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Sir Paul Stephenson, a colleague who went on to become Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said of him: “Mike represented all that is good in a friend, mentor and leader - it is my privilege to have worn the same police uniform and learnt so much from him.”

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Long-term colleague Garry Gluyas said: “I knew Mike as a friend and colleague for over 55 years. He had a wry sense of humour and was approachable, having a genuinely ‘open door’ policy. He was consistent when dealing with any problems, firm but fair and always decisive, bearing no grudges.

“Consequently, he was a respected officer, held in esteem by all ranks. His partnership work with a range of other agencies was ahead of the game.”

Another ex-colleague Kevan Dickin said: ‘You often hear the expression that someone is a 'policeman's policeman'; he was greatly respected but was also a lovely person who had time for everyone.’

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He retired in 1999 after 40 years. In retirement, he remained active in the National Association of Retired Police Officers, learnt new skills in woodworking and spent time with Sylvia, Jeanine and granddaughters Esmé and Agnes. He also wrote a memoir of his early days, Burnley Borough Bobbies, published in 2017.

Funeral details from Hartley Foulds Funeral Directors.