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The Prince of Wales attends the National Police Memorial Day

28th September 2014

The Prince of Wales speaking to Catherine McVicar, the daughter of Constable Joseph Stewart who died 11th August 1967, at the National Police Memorial Day Service for officers killed on duty held at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast.

The Prince of Wales speaking to Catherine McVicar, the daughter of Constable Joseph Stewart who died 11th August 1967, at the National Police Memorial Day Service for officers killed on duty held at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast.

The Prince of Wales has said an immense debt of gratitude is owed for the enormous sacrifices of police in Northern Ireland.

His Royal Highness paid tribute to the exceptional bravery of those who lost their lives in the line of duty and assured relatives left behind that they are remembered.

A total of 303 Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and reservists were killed between 1966, just before the start of the conflict, and 1998.

In a message given in his capacity as Patron of the National Police Memorial Day, The Prince of Wales said: "We are drawn together from across the UK to demonstrate our deep respect for these brave men and women. 

"They will never be forgotten and through us, their exceptional legacy will always be remembered."

As the memorial service this year was in Belfast, His Royal Highness paid tribute to the "enormous sacrifices" made by the RUC and its successor the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

"We owe them an immense debt of gratitude."

The National Police Memorial Day Service for officers killed on duty held at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast

The National Police Memorial Day Service for officers killed on duty held at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast.

Iona Meyer, former chairwoman of the RUC George Cross Widows Association which represents and supports the bereaved, said it was a day of mixed emotions but she was delighted the event was held in Belfast. 

The force was later changed into the PSNI as part of wide-ranging reforms and that organisation has also suffered deaths.

Stormont Justice Minister David Ford remembered PSNI constable Ronan Kerr, killed by dissident republicans opposed to the peace process, PSNI constable Philippa Reynolds who died when a stolen car crashed into a police car in Derry and detective garda Adrian Donohue of An Garda Siochana, shot by an armed gang during a robbery at a credit union in the Republic of Ireland.

Mr Ford said: "We take time to publicly recognise and pay tribute to the courage, commitment, service and sacrifices they gave to their colleagues and communities."