27 September 2021
Police family gather to remember fallen officers at National Police Memorial Day
Honouring the lives of police officers who have died on duty and continuing to remember their sacrifice is important for the police service, according to Leicestershire Police Federation.
Chairman Adam Commons was speaking at the 18th annual National Police Memorial Day, which remembered thousands of officers who have died on duty.
Members of the police family gathered at Lincoln Cathedral on Sunday 26 September, to honour more than 5,000 officers who have lost their lives on duty. It was the first time the police family had gathered together for National Police Memorial Day since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The names of those officers who had died in the past year were read out.
Adam said: “It is hugely important to celebrate the lives of people who have lost their lives on duty and continue to remember them, and do it with the family. It’s important that they remember they’re still part of the police family and that’s why we come together and do things like this.
“We’ve got the family of Steve Ford with us, who sadly died during Covid, during the worst of the lockdown. His family were happy to come today to be able to celebrate his memory and be with other people as well, other families and other police officers.
“I think it’s important to retain that memory, to ensure that the families know that we don’t forget them as well.
“It’s always a moving service, but because we’ve not had that contact with people, not been able to see people, to suddenly be in rooms full of people who, for the families who have been through similar things, the police officers who haven’t seen each other, it’s going to add a completely different dimension to it.”
Chief Constable Simon Cole added: “It’s a very emotional and a very poignant day. But it’s also a chance to tell stories and talk about what was achieved in the past. All of those things going on at the same time, it is a real mix of emotions.
“And it’s good that we’re back doing this together. It’s the first time that we’ve been able to be back together because of the pandemic for a long, long time, and that’s important too.
“It’s important that we remember those that we’ve lost along the way, those that we’ve lost particularly on duty. It matters, and it matters that we try and support families as best we can.”
HRH The Prince of Wales, who is patron of NPMD, said the country was “forever grateful for the steadfast dedication to duty of our police officers who have adapted and worked so tirelessly amidst the ever-changing circumstances” of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Writing in the commemorative brochure, Prince Charles said: “We owe a most profound debt of gratitude to our police service, and its remarkable officers, who, along with their families, will continue to have a very special place in the heart of our nation.”
Officers who have died in the past year were remembered during the service. They are: Sgt Paul Keany, of Northamptonshire Police; PC Christopher Miller, of the Metropolitan Police; Sgt Matt Ratana, of the Metropolitan Police; PC Thomas White, of Police Scotland; PC Darryl Street of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and PC Quamar Zaman, of Greater Manchester Police.
During the service, candles were lit for officers in each of the four nations. Representing England was Jayne Clemson, daughter of PC Ray Davenport, of Merseyside Police, who died in 1981 following a traffic incident.
Representing Northern Ireland was Andrea Brown, daughter of RUC Sgt Eric Brown, who was fatally shot by terrorist gunmen in 1983.
Representing Wales was Rhianydd Gardiner, great niece of PC Noel Alexander, who died in 1964 because of injuries sustained in a training incident.
Representing Scotland was Faye Buggins, widow of PC Roy Buggins, who collapsed and died on duty in 2019.
The service also heard a reading from Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Addressing the service, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “Policing is a vocation… the women and men of the front line have risen magnificently to the challenges of the past 18 months.
“Today we pay tribute to the courage of those killed in service and the great courage showed by their families ever since.
“Today we thank them for who they were and we thank them for what they did and what they contributed to society.
“Police officers know their actions may cost their lives. The loss of a colleague on duty is felt by each and every member of the service.”
Addressing the families present, she said: “We will never forget you or the sacrifice that your loved ones made.”
There was silence as petals of remembrance, representing all who have lost their lives, descended from the gallery as the Last Post was sounded.