Derbyshire Constabulary will always think of Mrs Janet Birkin, MBE, who died on Sunday, 5 May, as “a great friend and part of the county’s policing family,” Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles said today (Wednesday, 8 May).
Paying tribute to the former chair of Derbyshire Police Authority, he described Mrs Birkin as “a tremendous advocate for policing.”
He said: “Janet believed in local policing for local people, focusing her energies on helping to make Derbyshire Constabulary the best police force it could possibly be. Her leadership of the Authority built on past successes and laid positive ground for the future. She will be sadly missed by her former colleagues.”
Mrs Birkin, who was also a magistrate, chaired the Authority through some very difficult times during her five year tenure from 2005 until 2010. Closely involved with policing for many years, she served on the previous Police Committee of the County Council and subsequently on the Police Authority until her retirement in 2010.
Within weeks of taking over the role of Authority chairman she faced a battle to save the county’s force from a merger in 2005 – a battle that was won in cooperation with Local Authority partners following meetings with ministers and MPs and organising a huge consultation in Derbyshire. The message from the people came out strongly in support of keeping a Derbyshire police force.
Mrs Birkin had battled twice with cancer in previous years but sadly her illness returned nearly two years ago. She died on Sunday with her family around her.
Despite her illness, she was able to go to Buckingham Palace and receive her MBE for services to Derbyshire and to policing. “This was one of the proudest moments of her life,” Mr Charles remembered.
After her retirement from the Police Authority, Mrs Birkin concentrated her time on her local commitments, her work with Marks & Spencer's pension fund, her position as a Deputy Lieutenant and with her own family. She had worked for Marks & Spencer for 30 years, becoming head of human resources for the East Midlands before retiring in 2004.
“She will be remembered across the county of her birth for accepting and rising to many challenges during her lifetime,” the Commissioner said.
“Our thoughts are with her family and friends.”
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Posted on Thursday 9th May 2013