Greater Manchester Police chief found dead

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The Independent Online

The chief constable of Greater Manchester Police has been found dead, his force said tonight. Michael Todd, age 50, went missing last night while walking in Snowdonia.

A search was launched and a body was found this afternoon at the bottom of a cliff.

Deputy Chief Constable Dave Whatton said: "Yesterday our chief constable Michael Todd was off-duty walking in Snowdonia. Last night we became concerned for his welfare and as a result searches started to find him.

"These searches have continued today and unfortunately this afternoon a body has been found. I believe it is Michael but we have not been able to formally identify him at this time.

"The weather conditions are extremely bad at the moment and are hindering our inquiries. There will be a coroner's investigation which means I can't say any more at this time.

"As you can imagine all of his friends and colleagues are extremely upset. Our hearts and thought are with his family, and I would ask that they be left in peace to come to terms with this tragic shock."

Ian Henderson, secretary of Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team, said the operation to retrieve Mr Todd's body was ongoing.

He said: "Currently we have a team on there working on the recovery of the body. We anticipate it will be another couple of hours before we get him down from the hill."

Winds were gusting up to 30mph on the Snowdon summit yesterday, and were about the same again this afternoon.

Mr Todd lived in a flat in Manchester city centre but his family home was in Nottinghamshire, according to a police spokesman. He was married with three children, a daughter and twin sons.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) president Ken Jones said: "While we must await formal identification by the coroner, we now have to address the awful prospect that Mike Todd has lost his life.

"Mike has made an enormous contribution to policing in Manchester and nationally throughout his distinguished career. The news of his apparent death is a tragedy and he will be greatly missed by chief officer colleagues and all who worked with him during his career. As a personal friend and valued supporter, I will miss him greatly."

He added: "Acpo headquarters has received already a huge volume of calls from colleagues across the policing family and in government who were shocked at the news and join us in conveying their support for his family. He has been vice-president of the association and actively involved in the national effort against terror.

"He has also been a progressive and persuasive voice in the debate about how policing can best serve the public in this country, taking a major role in many Acpo initiatives on behalf of national policing."

Jan Berry, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: "Mike was a very popular police officer who, despite his rank, never forgot the dangers and pressures those on the frontline face. He was, and will be always be remembered as, a coppers' copper."

The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said: "Chief Constable Todd has had a long and distinguished career in various forces and has contributed greatly to the fight against crime and terrorism."