Fallen officers remembered at National Police Memorial Day

25 September 2016

Prince Charles meets Abigail Phillips

HRH The Prince of Wales meets Abigail Phillips

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 Paul’s Cathedral, London.

HRH The Prince of Wales, patron of the charity, was among those in attendance, and paid tribute to the police service, saying in the commemorative brochure: “For many of us, the security challenges of today further underscore the importance of the police and their ongoing commitment to protecting us all, despite the inevitable risks that they face on a daily basis.”

HRH was joined by Home Secretary Amber Rudd, more than 40 chief constables and around 2,000 former colleagues and family members of serving police officers who lost their lives while carrying out their duties.

Amber Rudd, who gave a reading at the service, said: “The police show extraordinary bravery day in, day out, tackling dangerous situations in order to keep our families, communities and country safe. It is tragic when a police officer loses their life, protecting their community, and we must never forget their sacrifice.

“It is my honour to take part in National Police Memorial Day and pay tribute to the courageous police officers who have fallen in the line of duty and the families that are left behind."

Speaking after the service, City of London Police Commissioner, Ian Dyson, said: “Police officers play an ever-present role in our day-to-day lives, always on hand when we need them to help, to reassure, and to act. Sometimes, however, we take them for granted.

“That’s why days like today are so important, giving us an opportunity to pay our respects to police officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect their communities.

“I was humbled to be asked to attend and play a part in the service, and proud that this event took place within the City of London. It was a particular honour to meet and speak to the families of officers who have tragically died in the line of duty.”

Prayers were led by:

  • Angus Morrison, brother of Detective Constable James Morrison, Metropolitan Police
  • Alice Fisher, granddaughter of Reserve Constable William Wallace Allen, Royal Ulster Constabulary
  • Paul Bone, father of Constable Fiona Bone, Greater Manchester Police
  • Chief Constable Alan Pughsley QPM, Kent Police

Candles were lit by relatives mourning their loved ones and in remembrance of officers throughout the country who have lost their lives. This year’s candles were lit by:

  • Eight-year-old Abigail Phillips, daughter of Constable Dave Phillips, Merseyside Police - representing England
  • Gaynor James, mother of Constable Andrew Lloyd James, South Wales Police - representing Wales
  • Andrea Irvine, widow of part-time Constable Kenneth Thomas Irvine, Police Service of Northern Ireland - representing Northern Ireland
  • Elaine Gordon, daughter of Sergeant Alan Ewen Gordon, Grampian Police - representing Scotland.

Steve White, Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, read the names of officers who have lost their lives during the past year: 

  • Constable Douglas Wiggins, Police Scotland
  • Constable Sahib Lalli, Metropolitan Police Service
  • Constable Dave Phillips, Merseyside Police.

There was silence as petals of remembrance, representing all who have lost their lives, descended from the Whispering Gallery as the orchestra played ‘Abide with me’ and the Last Post was sounded.

Speaking about the service and its importance, Robin Phillips, father of Constable David Phillips, said: "This service is important to us as we approach the first anniversary of Dave's tragic death. All of Dave's family, and the families of those other officers we have lost, gain solace in knowing that they, and the sacrifice they made, is never forgotten. It is also a comfort for those families who may have lost their loved ones many years ago to come together and draw strength from meeting others who share their sense of pain and loss."

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire, who attended the service, said: “Today we remember the dedication of police officers from every part of the United Kingdom. Their commitment, bravery and willingness to set aside concerns for their personal safety represent public service at its very best.

As Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, I would also like to remember the profound sacrifice of officers in Northern Ireland who have lost their lives and acknowledge the loss suffered by their families and loved ones. It is a privilege to be able to pay tribute to them today.”

Inspector Joe Holness QPM, founder of National Police Memorial Day, said: “For me personally, today was undoubtedly the most poignant service in the history of National Police Memorial Day.  This was my last service as national coordinator and to gather again where the inaugural service took place is somewhat surreal.

“National Police Memorial Day was an idea borne out of tragedy and I would never have dreamed that the charity and service would progress to have the standing it has today.

“My aim was to honour my fallen colleagues with a fitting annual service of remembrance and bring the nation together to do so.

“I extend my gratitude to everyone who attended today’s service and for their ongoing support.  It was a day filled with emotion but also with immense pride, and I know it meant a lot to the families and friends of our fallen colleagues to have our patron The Prince of Wales with us today.”

As part of the service The National Police Air Service (NPAS) and The Police Service of Northern Ireland together conducted a formation flypast using three of the helicopters from the National Police Air Service fleet and an Islander aircraft from the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

More information and photos of the day