Manchester Police chief constable found dead after hill-walking trip in Snowdonia

One of Britain's most senior police officers has been found dead after taking a hill-walking trip in North Wales.

Michael Todd, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester, was discovered at the bottom of a cliff in Snowdonia yesterday afternoon.

Speaking outside the force's headquarters, Greater Manchester's Deputy Chief Constable, Dave Whatton, said Mr Todd, who had three children, had spent Monday, his day off, walking in Snowdonia. After becoming concerned for his welfare during Monday night, a search was launched. Yesterday afternoon, his body was retrieved by a Mountain Rescue team.

In his statement Mr Whatton said: "I believe it is Michael. As you can imagine, all of his friends and colleagues are extremely upset. Our hearts and thoughts are with his family, and I would ask that they be left in peace to come to terms with this."

Sources at Greater Manchester Police said that among items found on the body were notes to his family and loved ones.

Telephone conversations with friends shortly before his disappearance are said to have indicated Mr Todd was experiencing personal problems.

Mr Todd's wife and three children, twin teenage sons and a teenage daughter – who apparently lived in Nottinghamshire apart from Mr Todd, and saw him at weekends – were being comforted by relatives last night.

Mr Todd, 51, was a high-flier and was widely tipped as a likely future Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. He started his career with Essex Police in 1976 and later served in Nottingham and London before becoming Manchester's chief constable in 2002. He was immediately charged with the task of turning his failing force around. GMP was named the worst-performing force in Britain in 2003 and Mr Todd himself claimed that Inspector Morse fans would make better policemen than some of his officers.

His notable achievements included the arrest of 28 of the North-west force's most wanted criminals in one 12-month period. Never afraid of the limelight, his most high-profile recent appearance was when he allowed himself to be hit by a Taser stun gun in order to demonstrate the weapon's effectiveness as a non-lethal alternative to firearms.

Yesterday, in the hours following the announcement of his death, colleagues and political figures paid tribute to a "decent and committed policeman".

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said Mr Todd made a "significant contribution to policing". He said: "I am shocked and saddened to hear reports of the death of Michael Todd. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues in the Greater Manchester force at this time.

"Michael held a variety of posts and ranks. In London, this culminated in him being assistant commissioner for territorial policing and leading the important fight against street crime. He was held in high esteem and I and colleagues who knew him are truly shocked."

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. My thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues."

The former home secretary, David Blunkett, added: "Michael Todd was a decent and committed policeman who did a first-class job in difficult circumstances. His death is a real tragedy and I feel very sad to hear of his loss. My thoughts are with his family at this time."

The president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Ken Jones, said: "Mike has made an enormous contribution to policing in Manchester and nationally throughout his distinguished career. He will be greatly missed by chief officer colleagues and all who worked with him."

A fast-tracked officer with an impressive intellectual ability

Michael Todd began his career with Essex Police in 1976 where he served as both a uniformed officer and a detective before moving to the Metropolitan Police, where he worked in Bethnal Green as an inspector, in the first management exchange scheme between Essex and the Met. He was one of a new generation of police officers in Britain, and like the current Met Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, boasted impressive intellectual abilities and a media-friendly approach. Mr Todd graduated with a first-class degree in politics from Essex University and went on to do an M Phil. The university named him its alumnus of the year in 2003.

His police career was fast-tracked at an early stage. In 1995 he was made Assistant Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire before returning to London in 1998 where he was appointed Deputy Assistant Commissioner responsible for the north-west area of the capital.

Two years later he became Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and was responsible for policing of all 32 London boroughs. It was during this time that he led high-profile operations at events such as the May Day demonstrations, the Notting Hill Carnival and the Queen's Jubilee celebrations.

In 2002 he became Chief Constable of Greater Manchester and he was made vice-president of the Association of Chief Police Officers in 2006.

Throughout his career he gained a reputation for being open with the media, and often stated his belief in the importance of a good relationship between the police and the press.

In 1992 he invited television crews to join him on police raids and since then has been interviewed on various television and radio programmes including the Today programme on Radio 4.

He is one of a small number of top officers to have been grilled by the BBC's Jeremy Paxman and, during the May Day riots in 2001, he held 66 television and radio interviews, which remains a record.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links