(Originally published at OnePaper.com)

University of Greenwich, UK: Detective Inspector David Michael of the Metropolitan Police Service has been awarded the degree of Honorary Master of Laws by the University of Greenwich. David Michael has a distinguished record of police service, having received five commendations during his career as a uniformed officer and as a detective. He also has a national reputation as one of the country’s most eminent black police officers.

The Chancellor of the University of Greenwich, the Rt Hon the Lord Holme of Cheltenham CBE, conferred the degree on Monday, July 16 at a ceremony in the Old Royal Naval College Chapel, which shares a site with the university’s principal campus. DI Michael joined a ceremonial procession through the grand squares of Sir Christopher Wren’s baroque masterpiece on the banks of the Thames. He wore a formal gown of blue and gold damask silk and a Tudor-style academic bonnet in gold silk.

Honorary degrees are made to individuals of distinction who have made a major contribution to the work of the university or who have earned prominence for activities associated more widely with education, business, culture, creative work or public service.

Professor David Chambers, Head of the Law School at the University of Greenwich, made the traditional eulogy of praise to DI Michael. He said: “David is a man of professionalism, skill and leadership. We recognise him today for his contribution to his profession and also to the communities he serves. He has been an effective advocate for individual and collective rights within the police service. He speaks without fear or favour in respect of his victims. And he has served society, in its widest sense, as a man who has had the courage and tenacity to champion a cause to the advantage of others.”

In his acceptance speech, DI Michael said: “I was surprised and delighted to have been considered for the conferment this honour. As a law graduate, I have been able to use my exposure to law in a very practical way. I am grateful to all those who have contributed to the appreciation and recognition of my work and those who have decided to honour me.”

David Michael was born in Dominica in the West Indies and came to live in the United Kingdom at the age of 11. On his 19th birthday, he became the first black police officer in Lewisham where he worked on new approach to crime reduction based on surveillance and strategic action. He went on to become a Detective Constable at Notting Hill and a uniformed sergeant in Peckham. His later postings included a period with CIB2, a unit investigating complaints against police officers, and an attachment to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office before being stationed at Southwark as a uniformed inspector.

He graduated in Law from the University of Westminster in 1993 following studies as a mature student at evening classes. He juggled his academic work with professional duties on a number of high-profile murder cases and equally distressing involvement as part of the Newham Child Protection Team. He was later moved back to Southwark as a Detective Inspector.

David Michael has been a long term member of the Metropolitan Police’s Black Police Association executive committee. He was its first Deputy General Secretary and its Chairman from 1995 to 1997 and 1999 to 2001. He has also served on the National Communication Network of Black Police Associations.

Official Press Release courtesy of Caron Jones, Public Relations Unit, the University of Greenwich. For more information, contact: caron.jones@gre.ac.uk