[E]ight weeks on from the murder of PC Keith Palmer in a terrorist attack in London, a major campaign is launched across the country today (Wednesday, 17th May) to help raise funds to build a new UK Police Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) in Staffordshire.
Home Secretary, Amber Rudd said: “Every day, our police officers and staff go out to work not knowing what they might face, but do so with the utmost professionalism and bravery. We all owe them a huge debt of gratitude.
“That bravery was plain for everyone to see in the phenomenal response of the police to the shocking events in Westminster back in March, as a result of which PC Keith Palmer tragically lost his life.
“It is entirely fitting that those officers and staff who give their lives in the line of duty should be remembered with a lasting tribute. The Government has already committed £1m towards the UK Police Memorial and I hope the public also take this campaign to their hearts and recognise the importance of establishing a permanent place of remembrance.”
The UK Police Memorial will see:
- A physical memorial established, set in a beautiful landscaped garden, inscribed with the names of over 1,400 police officers and staff who have died from injuries they sustained whilst carrying out their lawful duties.
- The first memorial in the world to merge a physical and digital presence, that tells the story of policing and those behind the badge who have paid with their lives.
- A programme developed for schools and colleges to inform pupils and students about the history of our police service and the part it plays in today’s society.
- A memorial that aims to foster a greater understanding and reconnection with the public and to bring back a sense of pride and value once more in UK policing.
- A memorial where the names of officers and staff who may be killed on duty in future years can be added and remembered.
- The establishment of a Living Memorial fund that can support the families of officers and staff killed on duty in the future.
Chair of the UK Police Memorial Trust, Sir Hugh Orde said: “PC Palmer’s death has put greater emphasis on the need to create a place where the nation can honour and commemorate our police service and where family, friends and colleagues of those killed on duty can go to carry out personal acts of remembrance.
“The NMA is the place where the nation can go to remember our services and the men and women who have been killed in the course of their duty for their country.
“We need to establish a fitting memorial that recognises the vital contribution that policing makes to our society and acknowledges the courage and sacrifice made by police officers and police staff who have paid the ultimate price. That tribute must become part of the fabric of our national life.”
Today’s fundraising campaign is launched in partnership with the national news talk radio station LBC and Express Newspapers.
LBC breakfast presenter Nick Ferrari said: “After the tragic events in London which resulted in the death of a brave police officer, there can surely be no better time to remember the sacrifices that officers like he and others have given down the years. This is our opportunity to thank the brave men and women who stand on the front line for our security twenty-four hours a day, every day of the week and every week of the year.”
Paul Ashford, Editorial Director from Express Newspapers said: “We are backing the memorial because Daily and Sunday Express readers recognise the role of the police in protecting our community sometimes even at the cost of their own lives, and agree that the heroism and sacrifice of thousands of policemen and women should have a national memorial of the highest order at the National Arboretum.”
GMP Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “It’s only right and fitting that we show our support for such an important memorial. Policing protects the freedoms of the country and in doing this there are times when officers lose their lives.
“Officers across the country, including those in Greater Manchester, go out every day not knowing what situation they will face but remaining committed to protecting the communities that they serve. This shows immense bravery. It’s so important that we pay tribute to those officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty and that we give their loved ones somewhere to remember and pay their respects to them.”
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Bates, of Lancashire Constabulary, said: “Every single day, in forces up and down the country, officers put themselves on the line in order to keep the public safe.
“They do this assuming that they will be able to go home to their families at the end of their shift. Sadly, for some, this isn’t the case.
“We at Lancashire Police are proud to be lending our support to this national campaign, which will honour the dedication, courage and sacrifice which has been made by so many of our colleagues.
“Over the coming weeks and months we will be encouraging our own officers and staff to run fundraising events to support the appeal, and we would be delighted if members of the public would consider doing the same.
“The UK Police Memorial Trust is on the home stretch in terms of funding, as £2.5m has already been found, so every penny really will make a huge difference.”
Since 1749 and the creation of the Bow Street Runners over 4,000 men and women have given their lives to serve and protect our communities in the UK.
Losses in British Colonial and other UK administered forces overseas number as many as a further 1,000.
The events in London last month, including the death of PC Keith Palmer, have put greater emphasis on the need to create a space where people can honour those who have been killed on duty, and where their family, friends and colleagues can carry out acts of remembrance.
The Arboretum Memorial will complement other memorials around the country, notably the National Police Memorial at the Mall and both The Beat and the Police Memorial Garden, which are already located at the National Memorial Arboretum.
The memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum will be designed only after an extensive consultation process with police and members of the public and construction is expected to be completed in late 2018/early 2019.
Further information about the Memorial, how to make a donation or take part in fundraising activity can be found at the UK Police Memorial website www.ukpolicememorial.org Anyone making a donation of more than £20 will receive a black and white Sillitoe wristband inscribed with the words ‘courage and sacrifice’.