Fallen officers remembered at 20th anniversary of National Police Memorial Day

This year marked the 20th anniversary of National Police Memorial Day as family members, friends and colleagues gathered in Cardiff to pay tribute to officers who have died or been killed on duty.

Sep 26, 2023
By Paul Jacques

National Police Memorial Day honours the more than 5,000 officers who have died on duty throughout the UK.

Sunday’s memorial service was particularly poignant for West Midlands Police as it came just two days after the tragic death of one of its officers.

Sergeant Paul Frear died on Friday morning (September 22) after he was critically injured after being knocked over by a car 24 hours earlier while on his way to work.

West Midlands Police Federation chair Rich Cooke, who attended the service alongside Chief Constable Craig Guildford and the family of West Midlands Police officer Ryan Hunt, 31, who died in 2006, said: “The National Police Memorial Day service is always a very moving and emotional occasion but had an added poignancy this year because it came so soon after the death of one of our members.

“Our thoughts and prayers were with Paul’s loved ones throughout the service and we are here to offer them our continued support.”

He added: “National Police Memorial Day allows us the time and space for reflection on the sacrifices made by colleagues and is one of the most significant, important dates on the policing calendar.”

The inaugural National Police Memorial Day service was held at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on October 3, 2004.

Since then, it has taken place in rotation around the four countries of the UK on the Sunday closest to September 29 – St Michael’s Day, the Patron Saint of Police Officers.

This year’s service was hosted by South Wales Police at the New Theatre in Cardiff.

Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan said: “It is a real honour to be welcoming colleagues from across the country to Cardiff for the annual National Police Memorial Day – a chance for us all to take some time to reflect and pay tribute.

“Remembering those who have died, and showing our heartfelt gratitude for their service, is of huge significance and importance to us as a police family, and National Police Memorial Day helps us to do exactly that.

“We must not, and will not, forget those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. I know that this year’s Memorial Day will have added resonance for many colleagues both here in Wales and right across the UK, and we have been all too frequently reminded of the selflessness, dedication and self-sacrifice which members of the police service display each and every day on behalf of others.”

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper attended the service and each gave a reading.

National police chaplain and National Police Memorial Day coordinator, the Reverend Canon David Wilbraham MBE, welcomed the congregation.

He said: “Grief is a universal experience that affects all our lives and today we gather to support each other and pay tribute to those lost in service.”

The Act of Remembrance saw candles, one from each of the four nations in the UK, lit to remind people of the “undying flame of devotion and commitment, exemplified by those whom we remember today”.

Sid Mackay, father of Metropolitan Police Service Constable Nina Mackay, 25, who died in 1997 after being stabbed by a wanted man, represented England.

Dorothy Ellis, the mother of Gwent Police Constable Adrian Ellis, 29, who died in 1989 in a road traffic collision, represented Wales.

Scotland was represented by David Taylor, the son of Strathclyde Police Constable George Taylor, 27, who died in 1976 when he was attacked with an axe.

Northern Ireland was represented by Mervyn and Dorothy Reynolds, parents of Constable Philippa Reynolds, 27, who died in 2013 following a road traffic collision.

Wiltshire Police Chief Constable Catherine Roper, who attended the memorial service, said: “As each National Police Memorial Day comes and goes, it’s a touching reminder that the commitment and dedication of police officers extend beyond their shifts and uniforms.

“It is a day to demonstrate to friends, family, and colleagues that their sacrifice protecting our communities has not been forgotten. Their selfless devotion to duty, and supreme bravery are an example to us all.

“It’s a calling that demands unwavering courage and integrity, and this annual commemoration ensures that their legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of the communities they served.”

The names of officers who lost their lives during the past year were read by Police Federation Welsh affairs lead Nicky Ryan.

This year’s Roll of Honour included:

PC Bruce Lister, Hertfordshire Constabulary;

Police community support officer Daniel William Gower, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary;

Sergeant Steven Creal, Sussex Police;

PC Richard James Joseph Kemp, Lancashire Constabulary;

PC Neil Pattinson, Northumbria Police;

PC Andrew Boardman, West Mercia Police;

Inspector Gareth Earp, Dyfed-Powys Police;

Sergeant Graham Saville, Nottinghamshire Police; and

Sergeant Paul Frear, West Midlands Police.

“We give thanks to God for their courage and their dedication,” said Ms Ryan, as the petals of remembrance fell, representing those who have lost their lives.

The event ended with audience members standing in silence, as the orchestra played ‘Abide with Me’ and the Last Post sounded.

Next year’s National Police Memorial Day will take place in Glasgow.

Related News

Select Vacancies

Chief of Police

Gibraltar Defence Police

Assistant Chief Constables

Scottish Police Authority

Constables on Promotion to Sergeant

Greater Manchester Police

Copyright © 2024 Police Professional