Prince Charles in Belfast for memorial service for police officers

Justice Minister David Ford remembers RIC, RUC, PSNI and Garda officers killed in line of duty

Prince Charles is the patron of National Police Memorial Day. Photograph:  Shirlaine Forrest/WPA Pool /Getty Images

Prince Charles is the patron of National Police Memorial Day. Photograph: Shirlaine Forrest/WPA Pool /Getty Images

 

Prince Charles joined several hundred people in the Waterfront Hall in Belfast today to remember police officers who were killed in the line of duty.

The prince, British home secretary Theresa May and the North’s Justice Minister David Ford were among the large attendance at the eleventh UK National Police Memorial Day.

Also present were many senior officers from British police forces who joined chief constable George Hamilton and other officers from the ranks of the PSNI for the service which is held annually in different cities in Britain and Northern Ireland. It was held last year in Cardiff.

Among those being remembered today were the 300 RUC officers killed during the Troubles and also constables Ronan Kerr and Stephen Carroll of the PSNI who were killed by dissident republicans, and Constable Philippa killed early last year by so-called joyriders.

“As we meet in Northern Ireland, it is particularly appropriate that we recall the service and sacrifice of officers in the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Royal Ulster Constabulary, George Cross,” said Mr Ford.

“We remember that since we last met in Belfast, Constables Ronan Kerr and Philippa Reynolds of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, and Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe of An Garda Síochána, have all died as a direct result of criminal activity on this island,” he added.

Mr Ford also paid tribute to the families of the officers who died. “On behalf of the nation, we thank you for the sacrifices and support you gave over the years, support that enabled officers to go out each day to serve the community. Today is undoubtedly one of mixed emotions for you, marking both a personal and public act of remembrance,” he said.

Sir Hugh Orde, former PSNI chief constable and now president of the British Association of Chief Police Officers, said those who have given their lives in service to their communities must not and will not be forgotten.

“National Police Memorial Day gives us the opportunity to come together and remember those officers who put public service above their own safety, making the ultimate sacrifice for their bravery,” he said.

Prince Charles is the patron of National Police Memorial Day, which was first held at St Paul’s Cathedral in London in October 2004.

Said the British home secretary Ms May, “Police officers go to work every day knowing that they could find themselves in danger, and sometimes they risk their very lives as they protect the public. We owe a debt of gratitude to officers across the country who show bravery as a matter of course and in many cases while they are off duty.”