Home Secretary Priti Patel, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick and Police Federation national chair John Apter were among those to address the service at Lincoln Cathedral yesterday (26 September).
Nottinghamshire Police Federation was represented by branch chair Mark Petrovic who was joined by Joan and John HUFTON and Tracey WALKER.
Speaking after the service, Mark said: “It was a privilege to attend the National Police Memorial Day service alongside the families, friends and colleagues of our fallen officers.
“Their courage and dignity was truly humbling and the policing family will never forget them or the sacrifices they and their families have made.
“The service rightly commemorates our colleagues who have lost their lives but also serves as an important reminder of the risks our members face when they report for work each day.”
The congregation heard Dame Cressida praise the courage and dedication of police officers as they tackled the unprecedented challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and paid tribute to those who had lost their lives over the past 12 months.
She said: “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.”
The national Federation chair also 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.
The service was led by the Reverend Canon David Wilbraham, national police chaplain and National Police Memorial Day coordinator, 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 was among the dignitaries who spoke during the service and 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.”
During the service, representatives of fallen officers lit candles in an act of remembrance with one each for the forces of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
While there was a minute’s silence, petals of remembrance, representing all who have lost their lives, fell from the gallery as the orchestra played “Abide With Me” and “The Last Post” was sounded.
The service was followed by an online commemoration for those unable to attend in person. As a show of support, public buildings around the UK were illuminated blue to mark the occasion, including numerous police HQ buildings.
National Police Memorial Day was founded in 2004 by now retired Sergeant Joe Holness to commemorate the memory of colleagues lost in the line of duty.
Sergeant Holness was motivated by the death of his colleague, fellow Kent officer PC Jon Odell, who was killed in December 2000 after a vehicle was driven at him.