First policeman of African heritage in Lewisham awarded an MBE

A police chief who was one of only a handful of black officers in the force in the 1970s has been named in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.

Lewisham’s police officer and former Lewisham Councillor David Michael has been awarded an MBE for services to the community in Greater London.

He said, “I am pleased and proud to receive this special Honour. I am grateful to those who made the time to nominate me and considered me worthy of consideration. I am also grateful to those who made the ultimate decision to approve me for the award.”

Mr Michael joined the Met in December 1972, and was posted to Lewisham borough in 1973 to serve at Ladywell police station. He was the first officer of African heritage to serve in Lewisham in modern history, and at the time was one of only 11 black police officers in a force of more than 22,000. David had a successful and productive police career retiring as a Detective Chief Inspector at Scotland Yard after 30 years of police duty.

He adopted Lewisham as his home. David was the first appointed special adviser to former executive Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock and Lewisham council, advising on community cohesion and community relations.

He was the recipient of the inaugural Mayor of Lewisham Citizenship Award. He was also the recipient of the inaugural ‘Our London, Our future’ award from former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Mr Michael has been awarded an honorary Master of Laws degree by the University of Greenwich, Honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the University of Westminster and an Honorary Master of Arts degree by London Metropolitan University.

After retirement from the Met, he has worked in a wide range of community, voluntary and charitable projects.

This included community groups and organisations in Lewisham, cancer awareness organisations and organisations honouring police officers killed in the line of duty.
He was chairman of Lewisham Community Police Consultative Group for several years and was instrumental with others in adapting the group to become the Lewisham Safer Neighbourhood Board.

He represented Lewisham in the London-Wide Chairs forum of Community Police Engagement Groups and worked with Lewisham council, the Mayor’s Office for Policing
and Crime and other partners.

Mr Michael served as a Lewisham Councillor for a four-year term representing Evelyn ward in Deptford. He was a member of and one time chairman of the Safer Stronger Communities Select Committee and vice chairman of the Licensing Committee.

In 2013, he was the winner of the Positive Role Model – Race, Religion and Faith after several thousand nominations at the National Diversity Awards in Leeds.

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