Fallen police officers have been honoured at the National Police Memorial Day service at Lincoln Cathedral.
Home Secretary Priti Patel, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick and Police Federation national chair John Apter all addressed the poignant service which was attended by bereaved families and colleagues yesterday.
Gareth Jones, chair of Dyfed Powys Police Federation, who attended the service with Chief Constable Richard Lewis, said it was important for the police service to honour fallen colleagues.
“National Police Memorial Day is one of the key events in the policing year. It is a time for officers of all ranks to stand shoulder to shoulder with the families of fallen officers and show them their sacrifice is never forgotten and that their loved ones are remembered.
“Last year’s service, like so many other events, was held online which, of course, enabled us to pay tribute to those officers we have lost so there somehow seemed to be an added poignancy to being able to come together this year.”
Dame Cressida told the congregation: “This year, we sadly add six more families to those we want to protect and support.
“The families of Paul Keany, Chris Miller, Matt Ratana, Darryl Street, Thomas White and Quamar Zaman.
“We will never forget you nor will we ever forget the sacrifice your loved ones made.
“Their lives give us hope, motivation and inspiration that through our police work good can prevail, safety and peace can be secured.
“Each and every one of our fallen colleagues will have helped and protected so many people, brought comfort, justice, safety, hope, reassurance and courage to others. We are proud of them.”
John read out the names of the officers who died in the last 12 months and said: “Let us remember before God the men and women of the police service who gave their lives in the exercise of their duty.”
Addressing bereaved families in the congregation, Chris Haward, Chief Constable of Lincolnshire, said: “I hope today is of some comfort and that you can feel the support and compassion from all those around you because it is here in abundance
“National Police Memorial Day holds a place in all our hearts. We remember those we have lost but we should also celebrate their accomplishments, achievements and contributions together with those who continue to hold the thin blue line.
“Serving as a police officer is not an easy duty. Day in, day out, our officers give their everything to protect and serve others. They guide people when they are at their worst, they comfort people on their darkest of days.
“It is a path that many could not, nor would not, want to walk and we are proud of those who have dedicated their lives to policing. To those who have lost lives in the line of duty, their legacy will live on and they will always remain part of the police family.”
Ms Patel gave a short Bible reading from Corinthians 13 on the subject of love.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also paid tribute to police officers who have died in a message on Twitter.
He said: “No words can adequately do justice to the debt we as a nation owe fallen police officers. Without their dedication and willingness to run toward danger we simply would not be able to live our lives in safety and security. It’s something we must never take for granted.”
The service was led by the Reverend Canon David Wilbraham who said: “On this National Police Memorial Day, we give thanks for the bravery, courage and sacrifice of officers who since British policing began, have died on duty.”
Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire Toby Dennis praised the police for keeping the nation safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “The pandemic has cast so many fears not experienced before by any of us, that doubts for our safety and care were being greatly challenged no matter our circumstances.
“But the huge degree of comfort that the nation is protected by the most professional police force anywhere in the world gives us all the belief and faith to discover our inner strengths.”