Nick Bracken was born in Plaistow and educated at St Helen's Primary School in Canning Town and Plaistow Grammar (later Cumberland) School, and has been a policeman for over 30 years.
Commander Bracken has spent most of his career as a detective. He transferred to the Metropolitan Police from the British Transport Police as a Chief Superintendent, taking up the post as Borough Commander at Newham in 2006. Following promotion to the Association of Chief Police Officers he was appointed an Area Commander in June 2009 and is currently Commander of East London with responsibility for five London Boroughs.
During his career Mr Bracken has lead a number of high profile investigations following train crashes at Winsford, Paddington (Ladbroke Grove) and Selby. In addition he has served in senior positions as Identification Officer, identifying the dead following serious incidents such as the fire at Yarls Wood Immigration Centre; a previously unidentified victim of the 1987 Kings Cross underground fire and, in 2004, following the Tsunami. Further, he has acted in this capacity internationally to identify the bodies of British subjects; first in 2006 following the capsizing of the pleasure craft Al Dana in Bahrain and then in 2007 after the air crash in Malawi followed, in 2010, by the Phuket air crash.
Mr Bracken's expertise in the field of identification has led him to lecture extensively to senior investigators, coroners, pathologist and other experts both in the UK and abroad. This expertise was recognised in the 2006 New Years Honours List when he was warded the OBE for services to policing.
He in currently (2010) the chairman of East London Rugby Club.
Cmdr. Bracken was made an Honorary Freeman of the London Borough of Newham at a ceremony held on 27th May 2010 at the Old Town Hall, Stratford.
(Photograph: Kathy Taylor, Newham Heritage & Archives; text abridged from Newham Council Communications)