POLICE officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice – and their surviving family members – have been remembered at the Care of Police Survivors (COPS) Annual Service of Remembrance.
Family, friends and colleagues gathered at the National Memorial Arboretum on Sunday 31 July to pay respects to officers who have died on duty. The service in Staffordshire – bathed in sunshine – was attended by more than 750 people.
Events took place all weekend for surviving family members.
During a shortened 40 minute service on Sunday, survivors – a daughter, two sons and a wife – remembered their lost loved ones and talked about how the COPS charity benefits them.
Emma Duncan, daughter of Met PC Andy Duncan; Libby Chisolm, wife of Strathclyde Police PC Callum Chisolm; David Taylor, son of Strathclyde Police PC George Taylor; and Nathan Dent, son of Met PC Christopher Dent, were all warmly applauded as they read their pieces.
Det Sgt Emma Carter, of Bedfordshire Police, also spoke of her role as a Family Liaison Officer following the murder of colleague PC Jon Henry.
Craig Mackey, Deputy Commissioner of the Met, said: “I think anyone who heard any of the speeches today, from the man who lost his father 40 years ago [David Taylor] to Emma Duncan who lost her father just a few years ago, it just brings home to you what an impact these things have, and it just brings it home the sacrifice people make to do the job that we so cherish.”
Police Service of Northern Ireland Constables Clodagh Dunlop and John Dunlop presided over the wreath laying ceremony. Their uncle – Reserve Constable Clifford Evans – was killed on duty.
Clodagh is recovering from locked-in syndrome and received a moving ovation as she returned to her seat at the end of the segment.
The Roll of Honour for the three police officers who have died on duty during the past 12 months was read out by COPS President Denis Gunn.
Those remembered this year were PC David Phillips, of Merseyside Police; PC Sahib Lalli, of the Met; and PC Dougie Wiggins, of Police Scotland.
PC David Phillips’s family were in attendance.
A minute’s silence was held to remember all police officers who have died on duty.
Chief officers from all UK forces, the Home Office and staff associations were among those who took time to pay their respects and lay wreaths.
The West Midlands Police band provided accompanying music.
Before the service, The Blue Knights motorcyclists arrived in procession to pay their respects. They were also joined by some 120 members of the UK Police Unity Tour who had cycled up in convoy from London, Leicester, Wales, Norfolk and Cambridge.
The cyclists had raised an £50,000 for the charity.
COPS Trustee Don Speakman’s son PC Jonathan Speakman, of Cheshire Police, died on holiday in Australia after rescuing a child swept out to sea. Don outlined the importance of the charity
He said: “It took me two years to become involved with COPS because I went through a real bad spell, months, and the support and the help you get from the moment you arrive means an awful lot to these new families who are coming into this club that nobody wanted to join.”
Image: SPF Chairman, Brian Docherty, and ASPS President, Chief Superintendent Gordon Crossan, pay respects at the Service of Remembrance.