Senior Suffolk police officer pays tribute to Mick Rainbird
- Credit: MICHAEL STEWARD
A senior Suffolk police officer has paid a fond tribute to a popular long-serving colleague, who died in January aged 73.
Mick Rainbird started his career with Suffolk Constabulary in the cadets in 1966 before becoming a fully fledged officer in September 1967.
He retired from the force as special branch detective sergeant at Felixstowe in 1997 - but returned just over a decade later to join the newly-formed major investigations team in 2008.
In total, the ardent Ipswich Town fan spent more than 55 years with Suffolk police.
Detective Superintendent Mike Brown, head of the major investigations team, said Mick always looked out for other people.
"I joined the major crime team in 2015, and Mick was such an established part of that team," he said.
"Policing changed such a huge amount during his time with us, and his career as a whole but he moved with the times. He was able to do that.
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"He'd be happy to give his views or opinions if they were required, and sometimes if he just felt he needed to then he'd give them.
"He did it in such a nice way. So as a senior officer, you could rely on him to speak up if he felt you weren't going about something in quite the right way or he saw something you hadn't seen, he was really good at coming forward.
"One of the nicest things about him was how he looked after others. He would never let somebody go by if they were in need and there was something he could help with."
Det Supt said Mick's love for Ipswich Town led to him being involved in the matchday policing at Portman Road.
"Mick was an avid Ipswich Town fan. He was a blue through and through for sure," he said.
"They were overtime shifts, and you'd turn up, come into Ipswich police station and there Mick would be at his little table telling you where to go and what to do. Everything football was Mick.
"The nice thing was, we had a little police room at Portman Road and if there was a break, you could go there and always be sure that Mick would be in there, with the match on the telly. You could sit down and have a cup of tea, and if you were particularly well-liked you might have got a biscuit."
Det Supt Brown added Mick could sometimes be the joker - and even donned the Father Christmas suit for the office secret Santa.
"He loved a joke, he loved a laugh, all through his career. There were those who tried to get him to eat a bit healthier but they failed. If there was ever a cake in the office, there was a slice on his desk," he added.
"Every year he'd dress up as Father Christmas for our Secret Santa. Everybody, no matter what your rank, you had to go and meet Santa to get your gift.
"It became a bit of an institution because it was just that nice little break.
"He was liked by everybody - and that was from the chief constable to the newest recruit coming in. There was nobody who didn't like Mick. He was so genuine with everything that he did."