Tributes paid to former police chief

TRIBUTES have been paid to a former acting assistant chief constable of Suffolk Constabulary who has died at the age of 87.Kenneth Lee Vincent Baker joined Suffolk Constabulary as a superintendent in 1966 following 20 years service with Essex Police.

By Danielle Nuttall

TRIBUTES have been paid to a former acting assistant chief constable of Suffolk Constabulary who has died at the age of 87.

Kenneth Lee Vincent Baker joined Suffolk Constabulary as a superintendent in 1966 following 20 years service with Essex Police.

While with the force, he was in charge of the traffic and communications department and was later promoted to chief superintendent.


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He was also awarded the Queen's Police Medal in 1978 and ended his career as acting assistant chief constable of Suffolk Constabulary.

Mr Baker was born in Chatham in 1919 and lived there with his grandmother until his parents bought the 18th Century Park Cottage at Pleshey, near Chelmsford, in 1924.

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There he spent most of his childhood, in a rustic setting, with no electricity, gas, or modern facilities, and with no formal education beyond the village school, which he left at 15.

Although he always regretted his lack of early education, his application and strength of character took him to the top of his chosen career.

Having joined the Territorial Army in 1938, and being keen on motor vehicles, he was called up at the outbreak of war to serve in the Royal Army Service Corps (now the Royal Corps of Transport).

By the end of the war, at only 26, he had risen to the rank of Warrant Officer Class I.

He had also fallen in love with Marjorie Bagshaw, from Sheffield, whom he married in 1943 and to whom he remained devoted for the rest of his life.

On being discharged, he joined the Essex Constabulary and spent most of his 20 years' Essex service in Chelmsford, with spells in Saffron Walden (in the 1940s) and Hornchurch (as an inspector, around 1960).

During the 1960s he was placed in command of the Essex Police Driving School at Springfield, and in 1965 was promoted to Chief Inspector in command of motor patrols throughout the county.

The following year he moved to Ipswich as superintendent in charge of the traffic and communications department of Suffolk Constabulary, and a few years later settled at Hintlesham.

Mr Baker was described as a popular senior officer, inspiring respect and affection in all who served with him.

A strong supporter of extracurricular activities, he was involved in founding the Essex Police Band, which is still thriving, and the Suffolk Constabulary Male Voice Choir, which he accompanied on continental tours.

After Marjorie's death in 2003, he moved to Cambridge so that he could be closer to his children: his son, Sir John Baker QC, a professor of law at Cambridge University, and his daughter, Rosemary Zanders, co-founder of Cambridge Tailor-Made Tours.

He had four grandchildren (Alys, Anstice, Matthew and Edward) and three great-grandchildren (Luke, Marley and Archie).

Mr Baker, who died on April 3, was buried in Hintlesham churchyard, next to Marjorie, on Wednesday.

danielle.nuttall@eadt.co.uk

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