Fallen officers honoured at COPS remembrance service
The Care of Police Survivors (COPS) charity has held its annual service of remembrance.
Hundreds of police officers joined the families of fallen officers for the ceremony at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire.
The ceremony, being held for the 20th year, marked the end of the Police Unity Tour which saw officers from across the country take part in a 200-mile cycle challenge to raise funds for the charity.
A team of officers from Welsh forces formed a 50-strong chapter of the ride.
South Wales Police Federation chair Steve Treharne said: “The service of remembrance is an incredibly moving, poignant event which highlights the close-knit nature of the police family.
“The COPS charity, which organises the service and offers invaluable support to the families of officers killed while on duty, has become one of the most important organisations within policing over the last 20 years and should be congratulated for its incredible work.”
Death of a family member
The service featured a number of speakers whose lives have been impacted by the death of a family member in the police service.
COPS co-founder and vice-president Christine Fulton, whose husband PC Lewis Fulton was stabbed to death in Glasgow in 1994, spoke of the importance of peer support for survivors.
Reflecting on the charity’s first meetings two decades ago, Christine said: “For the first time they could talk about their officers without fear of making the listener feel uncomfortable or becoming upset if they became upset.
COPS riders near the end of their journey
“We didn’t mind. If they cried we cried with them, if they laughed we laughed with them. Sometimes we laughed and cried at the same time.
“And that peer support is what is at the very heart of this charity.”
The memorial service also heard from Caroline Cox, whose older brother Inspector Mark Estall of Essex Police died in January 2017, and Katy McMurray, whose dad PC Alan McMurray of Lothian and Borders Police died in February 2006 when she was just two-years-old.
COPS national president Gill Marshall gave an address before a wreaths were laid by representatives of the Office of the Lieutenancy, the High Sheriff’s Office, the Home Office, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Fire & Rescue Services, the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Blue Light, the Police Unity Tour, the National Memorial Arboretum and COPS.
The service included a roll of honour including the names of officers who have died in the 12 months since the last COPS service.
PC Daniel Golding of the Metropolitan Police who died on 18 August 2022;
PCSO Daniel Gower of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary who died on 23 November 2022;
PS Steven Creal of Sussex Police who died on 21 December 2022;
PC Richard Kemp of Lancashire Constabulary who died on 27 December 2022;
PC Bruce Lister of Hertfordshire Police who died on 30 January 2023;
PC Neil Pattinson of Northumbria Police who died on 27 February 2023;
PC Andy Boardman of West Mercia Police who died on 11 April 2023, and
Inspector Gareth Earp of Dyfed Powys Police who died on 29 June 2023.
Sir Peter Fahy, chair of the COPS trustees, gave a closing speech after a flypast and bow by a National Police Air Service helicopter.
Officers, police survivors, family members and guests then laid red roses and wreaths at The Beat, an avenue of trees at the arboretum dedicated to fallen police officers.