Taking a moment to pause and reflect on the thousands of police officers who have died while on duty is an important part of the police calendar, Gloucestershire Police Federation has said.
Members of the police family gathered at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow for the 15th annual National Police Memorial Day to honour the more than 4,000 officers who have lost their lives on duty. The names of those officers who have died in the past year were read out.
HRH The Prince of Wales, who is Patron of National Police Memorial Day, was among those attending the service, led by Canon David Wilbraham. He was joined by Home Secretary Priti Patel; Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, more than 40 Chief Constables and 1,500 police officers and family members.
Secretary of Gloucestershire Police Federation Ian White said it is so important for the police family to remember and honour those officers that have made the ultimate sacrifice and that have died in the line of duty and the execution of their duty.
Ian said “We all lead such busy lives that sometimes it’s easy to forget. But taking that moment to pause and reflect and honour them is hugely important, not just for us as a police family but for the family and friends of those officers that were taken so tragically.
“Sometimes policing can be a lonely job but it is nice to realise and take comfort from the fact that when the chips are down, we all do stick together and we really are one big family and we look out for each other up and down the country.
“It’s an important event because we need to show the officers and the families of fallen officers that we care.
“We need to keep this in the spotlight because it’s a dangerous job being a police officer and we need to keep that focus for those that govern us, for those that make our laws, and it helps concentrate the mind to offer the police officers the utmost protection when they’re doing their job.”
Gloucestershire Police Federation also had the company of the family of a fallen Gloucestershire officer with them at the service. Ian added “We’ve made contact this weekend with a family, the sister of an officer that was tragically killed on duty back in 1967.
“She’s been coming to these events for many years but has never been contacted by Gloucestershire Constabulary or the federation, so it was a real pleasure for us to take them out to dinner last night. We’ve escorted them here today, and we’re really making a fuss of them.”
In the commemorative brochure, HRH The Prince of Wales said: “Policing in the United Kingdom has enormous pressures to contend with, no more so than on the front line. As society changes, so must the way in which we support and protect our communities. Your job is one of the toughest there is, and all too often your efforts go unrecognised.
“I am proud to be with you today, and I particularly want you to know how very much I appreciate all that you do, and the sacrifices you make. You and your families have a very special place in the heart of this Nation.”
During the service, candles were lit for officers in each of the four nations. Representing Scotland was Margaret Sinclair and her daughter Patricia, for PC Leslie Sinclair, who died in 1972 following a road traffic collision.
Representing England was Rumbie Mabuto and her children Kenny and Sophia, for PC Joe Mabuto, who died after suffering a heart attack on duty. Representing Wales was William Parker, son of PC Andy Parker, who was killed in a motorbike crash when travelling home after a night shift.
And representing Northern Ireland was Margo Hetherington, daughter of Reserve Constable Jacob Rankin, who was fatally shot in 1978 whilst on duty by terrorists.
Andrea MacDonald, Chair of the Scottish Police Federation, read the names of officers who have lost their lives during the past year: PC Joseph Robert Cooke and Sgt Colin Michael Fox, both of the Met; PC Daniel Clayton-Drabble, PC Kevin Flint and PC Andrew Harper, all of Thames Valley Police; and PC Roy Buggins, of Police Scotland. The service also paid tribute to US Special Agent Nole Remagen, who died while on duty in Scotland.
There was silence as petals of remembrance, representing all who have lost their lives, descended from the gallery as the Last Post was sounded.