The Police Federation of England and Wales stood shoulder to shoulder with the loved ones of officers who lost their lives in service on National Police Memorial Day.

Federation representatives joined the families, friends and colleagues of fallen officers as well as police chiefs, serving officers and politicians for an emotional service at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall on Sunday.

Staffordshire Police Federation secretary Chris Rodger represented the branch at the service.

“It was an honour to represent Staffordshire officers at the memorial day service,” says Chris, “The service is always a poignant event, culminating in paper petals falling from the ceiling to represent those officers we have lost.

“It is so important that we honour those officers who have given their lives in serving their communities but also that we show their families that we continue to stand with them and keep them close to our hearts. Their sacrifice must not be forgotten.”

The service was attended by around 2,000 people, including Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who gave a reading.

She said: “To all the officers who lost their lives while working to keep us safe, we thank you and we honour you. Their bravery and commitment to their duty was unfaltering – society owes them and their loved ones a debt we cannot repay, but it is one we will not forget.

“As Home Secretary I make a promise to give police the powers and tools they need to do their jobs safely.”

During the service, candles were lit by relatives in remembrance of officers throughout the country who have lost their lives, one from each of the four nations of the United Kingdom.

Representing England was Kat Dumphreys, widow of PC Nick Dumphreys, who died on 26 January 2000 aged 47. He sustained fatal injuries when the police vehicle he was driving was in a single vehicle collision on the M6.

Liam Kelly, chair of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, read the names of officers who have lost their lives during the past year – PC Daniel Golding, Metropolitan Police, PC Craig Higgins, Greater Manchester Police, PC Alex Prentice, Northamptonshire Police, and PC Darryl Street, Civil Nuclear Constabulary.

He said: “National Police Memorial Day is an occasion to reflect and celebrate the best in policing not only in Northern Ireland but throughout the United Kingdom.

“Daily we see officers stepping up to the mark to safeguard communities and, sadly, on occasion, some officers are injured or lose their lives in the execution of their duties. This weekend, we say to assembled families that the police ‘family’ recognises, appreciates, and empathises with what you are experiencing and will never forget the sacrifices your loved ones made.”

There was silence as petals of remembrance, representing all who have lost their lives, descended from the gallery as the orchestra played Abide with me and the Last Post was sounded.

Canon David Wilbraham MBE, national police chaplain and co-ordinator of National Police Memorial Day, said: “This is the first time the National Police Memorial Day family has been able to gather in remembrance since the pandemic. Today we held those lost in honour - their service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.”