Michael William Needham CPM
In 1999, after 32 years as a career police officer, Michael William Needham left his native Lancashire in England, to begin a stint with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS).
Together with his wealth of experience, he brought with him a deep passion for policing and a commitment to the communities he serves. Now, following an additional decade with the RCIPS, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has awarded Mr Needham the Colonial Police Medal for Meritorious Service.
"I am thrilled to receive this honour. Being recognized for doing a good job is a wonderful experience," he said. "I always wanted to be a policeman. I had an uncle in the force and I was fascinated by the fact that officers were able to assist people and help communities feel safe."
Mr Needham was only 17 when he embarked on his career with the Lancashire Police Service. A stint as a constable was followed by lengthy service as a detective, investigating serious crimes such as murder, drug offences, fraud and money laundering.
An ambitious young officer, he earned a diploma in Police Management from the Institute of Management in the UK, and a master's degree in Fraud Investigation and Management from John Moore's University in Liverpool.
For three of his years with the Lancashire Police, Mr. Needham was seconded to Hong Kong to work on the Independent Commission against Corruption. This was a landmark major corruption investigation relating to a low-cost housing project.
Reflecting on his lengthy career, he noted "Although policing is risky and difficult, solving crime is exciting and rewarding, I would certainly do it all over again."
A firm believer in the integrity of people and institutions, Mr Needham's spell as a detective inspector with the RCIPS saw him focused on reducing financial crime, always in an effort to safeguard the credibility of Cayman as a major financial centre.
By 2003, he was spearheading the establishment of the Financial Crimes Unit (FCU), dedicated to investigating fraud, money laundering, corruption and similar offences. He reflected that heading the FCU comprises one of his most treasured accomplishments.
"In 2000 Cayman was blacklisted by the Caribbean Financial Action Taskforce," he explained. "Through our professional investigating officers, we were able to restore credibility to Cayman as a place to invest money and do business. Better yet, the same taskforce that had blacklisted us came back a few years later and gave us high marks!"
Mr Needham is also proud of his work as head of the Marine Unit. He was instrumental in acquiring additional boats and in establishing the marine base to strengthen its operational capacity.
A self-effacing Mr Needham said he does not know why he was singled out to receive the Colonial Police Medal. However, ten previous commendations saw colleagues and others laud his professionalism, perseverance, devotion to duty, speed of investigations and conduct.
And even today, as Chief Compliance Officer at Butterfield Bank, Mr Needham is still using his investigating skills to prevent financial crime and protect the integrity of the financial sector.
Mr Needham has been married to Pam for 37 years and they have two sons.
For further information contact: Wosila Rochester