Shailesh Vara MP hosted a reception for the UK Police Memorial Trust today in the House of Commons.
The event paid tribute to the 4,500 Police Officers and staff who have lost their lives in the line of service since the introduction of the Bow Street Runners in 1749. Those attending included relatives and colleagues of some of the fallen officers.
The physical memorial is at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, which was dedicated in 2021 by HRH The King, then HRH The Prince of Wales.
Now a digital version, believed to be the first of its kind in the world, has also been produced to achieve the Trust’s vision of celebrating lives lived, as well as remembering lives lost.
Along with Mr Vara, other speakers were the Rt Hon Chris Philp MP, Minister for Policing, and Chief Constable Gavin Stephens, Chair of Trustees and Chair of the National Police Chief’s Council.
Relatives of fallen officers present received leaves cut from the material used for the memorial, which were inscribed with the names of the policewomen and men.
Mr Vara, as a former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, presented a leaf to Chief Constable Jon Boucher of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) who collected it on behalf of the family of Constable Stephen Carroll.
Constable Carroll was shot on 9th March 2009 when responding to a 999 call near a Catholic Church at Lismore Manor, 26 miles south-west of Belfast.
The gunman fatally injured Constable Carroll, who was the first member of the PSNI to be murdered by Paramilitaries since it was established in 2001, replacing the former Royal Ulster Constabulary.
Following the event, Mr Vara said:
“It was a great privilege and honour to host this very special occasion in Parliament to remember the extraordinary women and men in the Police force who gave their lives in the line of duty.
“It was a very moving occasion, and it is important that we never forget their sacrifices as they sought to protect us and serve their communities.
“As well as the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, I am very pleased that there will also be a digital memorial, which can be accessed by people from across the world.”
Photos: (above) Shailesh Vara MP along with Chief Constable Gavin Stephens. (below from left to right) Shailesh Vara MP, Chief Constable Jon Boucher and Sir Hugh Orde, former Chief Constable of PSNI.