Police service pauses to remember fallen colleagues
Standard bearer Ian Cameron during the service.
Representatives of South Wales Police joined colleagues from across the UK in remembering officers who have died in the line of duty on National Police Memorial Day (NPMD).
The families, friends and colleagues of fallen officers joined police chiefs and politicians for an emotional service at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall on Sunday attended by around 2,000 people.
Among the congregation was regional Federation representative Leigh Godfrey who represented the branch but also the Federation’s Welsh region at the service.
Retired South Wales Sergeant Ian Cameron was also the official standard bearer for the service.
Ian, who retired in 2018 after 30 years’ service, said: “I’m a firm believer that we should honour our dead with dignity, respect and with great pride – that is the least they deserve. I hope when I play my little part it means they are never forgotten.”
Ian was the Force standard bearer for many years and is now a ceremonial police volunteer for remembrance parades, force funerals, retired officers’ funerals and other ceremonial duties.
He became NPMD’s standard bearer in 2010. In Cardiff the previous year, Ian was asked to attend St David’s Hall to assist when the standard bearer didn’t turn up – a union standard was quickly obtained for the service.
Left some money by his late grandmother, Ian decided to buy a standard and donate it to the memorial day. He was subsequently asked to carry it in Belfast, his home city, the following year.
Steve Treharne, South Wales Police Federation chair, said: “It’s an incredibly important day for policing and allows us to come together with the country to pay our respects to those colleagues we’ve lost and to show support to their loved ones.
“As standard bearer, Ian plays such an important role in these occasions and we’re proud to have the Force represented by him. And we’re glad that Leigh was able to represent South Wales Police Federation in paying our respects.
“It’s Cardiff’s turn to host the service next year and while there’s a lot of work to be done between now and next September, we’re really looking forward to it,” he added.
As a mark of respect for National Police Memorial Day, a number of force HQ buildings across Wales were lit up in blue and the Welsh Government followed suit with the Cathays Park 1 building in Cardiff which it currently occupies.
Mick Antoniw, the Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution in the Welsh Government, attended this year’s service and met families of fallen officers.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who gave a reading during this year’s service, said: “To all the officers who lost their lives while working to keep us safe, we thank you and we honour you.
“Their bravery and commitment to their duty was unfaltering. Society owes them and their loved ones a debt we cannot repay, but it is one we will not forget.
“As Home Secretary I make a promise to give police the powers and tools they need to do their jobs safely.”
During the service, candles were lit by relatives in remembrance of officers throughout the country who have lost their lives, one from each of the four nations of the United Kingdom.
Representing Wales was Sergeant Lowri Davies, daughter of PC Terence John Davies of Gwent Police. He was aged 34 when he was hit by a stolen vehicle which failed to stop as he cycled home after a tour of duty at Maindee on 23 August 1990.
Liam Kelly, chair of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, read the names of officers who have lost their lives during the past year – PC Daniel Golding, Metropolitan Police, PC Craig Higgins, Greater Manchester Police, PC Alex Prentice, Northamptonshire Police, and PC Darryl Street, Civil Nuclear Constabulary.
He said: “National Police Memorial Day is an occasion to reflect and celebrate the best in policing not only in Northern Ireland but throughout the United Kingdom.
“Daily we see officers stepping up to the mark to safeguard communities and, sadly, on occasion, some officers are injured or lose their lives in the execution of their duties. This weekend, we say to assembled families that the police ‘family’ recognises, appreciates, and empathises with what you are experiencing and will never forget the sacrifices your loved ones made.”
There was silence as petals of remembrance, representing all who have lost their lives, descended from the gallery as the orchestra played Abide with me and the Last Post was sounded.
Canon David Wilbraham MBE, national police chaplain and co-ordinator of National Police Memorial Day, said: “This is the first time the National Police Memorial Day family has been able to gather in remembrance since the pandemic. Today we held those lost in honour - their service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.”