Sun, 24 Sep 2017
Thousands of police officers who have died or been killed in the line of duty were honoured at today’s annual National Police Memorial Day service, held at St David’s Hall in Cardiff.
Families, friends, colleagues, senior officers, and government officials were welcomed on arrival by a guard of honour formed by representatives from each force in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and uniformed police officers from overseas forces.
Just as the service was about to start, the National Police Air Service flew over the hall, as a mark of respect.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who gave a reading at the service, said: “Every day and night, 365 days of the year, police officers keep our communities and country safe. They run towards danger and this could not have been more evident than in the recent terror attacks we have seen across London and in Manchester.
“It was the attack at Westminster Bridge, which tragically saw PC Palmer pay the ultimate sacrifice. This sacrifice, and the ones which many courageous officers have made, must never be forgotten.
“I am truly humbled to take part in National Police Memorial day. Days like today are so important, as they give us the opportunity to pay tribute and to honour those who have lost their lives in the line of duty.”
A leather-bound book of remembrance, provided by the Police Roll of Honour Trust, in dedication to all officers who have died on duty, was carried and presented by Sergeant Joanne Matulevicze from Police Scotland.
Prayers were read by PC Ian Swales, Cambridgeshire Police, on behalf of his crew partner PC Andreas Giovanni Newbery; Tim Harding, son of PC Leonard Alan Harding, Wiltshire Police; Tony Browning, father of PC Gareth Browning, Thames Valley Police; and Amy Mawson, daughter of Sergeant Nigel Mawson, West Midlands Police.
PC Lowri Davies, daughter of PC Terence John Davies, Gwent Constabulary; Thelma Corkey, widow of Reserve Constable Samuel Snowdon Corkey, Royal Ulster Constabulary; Laura Wiggins, daughter of PC Douglas Wiggins, Police Scotland and Pamela Knee, sister of PC John Egerton, Greater Manchester Police, lit the candles to remember those who died from the police forces of Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England respectively.
Steve White, Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, read the names of the officers who have died in the last year: DC Joe Mabuto, Thames Valley Police; Inspector Mark Estall, Essex Police; PC Paul Briggs, Merseyside Police; PC Austin Jackson, Leicestershire Constabulary; PC Keith Palmer GM, Metropolitan Police; and PC Gareth Browning, Thames Valley Police.
There was silence in the auditorium as petals of remembrance descended from the gallery before the Last Post was sounded.
Peter Vaughan CStJ QPM, Chief Constable of South Wales Police, said: “It is an honour and privilege to host the 14th National Police Memorial day in Cardiff. It has always been an extremely important occasion to me, as everyone from across the policing family in the UK comes together to reflect on the valour, selfless public duty and ultimate sacrifice made by our fallen colleagues.
“Tragic events in London and Manchester this year are a stark reminder of the dangers our officers are exposed to, and our officers have a reputation across the globe which is entirely a reflection of the professionalism of the men and women who proudly perform the role.
“We stop and pause this weekend to think of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country. At a time of ongoing terrorism around the world, when reports of loss of life and grave injuries are all too frequent, it is a particularly poignant time for us all, and we remember the families and friends of those who have died and those who have suffered lasting injuries and harm. The service and sacrifice of police personnel who lost their lives, showed enormous courage, dedication and loyalty and they will never be forgotten.
“Police officers give their lives in order that we may all live in peace. Typically, while all others are running away, it is the police officer who is running towards a hazardous situation, and you only have to look at the incident in Doncaster, South Yorkshire this week to see the sheer bravery of our young men and women, day in, day out. They place the safety of others above that of their own - they do so with pride and because they are the best.
“I am retiring at the end of this year, and naturally this is a period of reflection on policing as a whole for me, and it is the bravery and sacrifice of our police officers that makes me so incredibly proud and humbled to have been part of the policing family here in the UK.”
Steve White, Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales; and Chair of the Trustees for National Police Memorial Day, said: “National Police Memorial Day provides solidarity and solace for many, and it is the police family’s commitment to our fallen colleagues.
“It would not have grown to have the standing it has today without the dedication and tenacity of Inspector Joe Holness QPM and his wife Sharon Holness MBE, both now retired.
“Joe and Sharon firmly established this day to honour fallen police officers. We are proud to continue their legacy and bring our extended police family together to honour some remarkable friends and colleagues.”
Speaking about the service and its importance, Lindsey Briggs, wife of PC Paul Briggs, Merseyside Police, said: “Today has been the first service my family and I have attended. We have met the Home Secretary, the police band were great and it has been a truly lovely day to remember the fallen officers and we really appreciate it”.
For more on National Police Memorial Day please visit our Events page.
© 2017 Police Federation of England & Wales