The Prince of Wales has attended the dedication ceremony for the new UK Police Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
His Royal Highness unveiled a plaque and laid a wreath to commemorate those from our police service who have dedicated their lives to keep us safe and protect us from harm.
The ceremony was attended by the widows, children and friends of those who have died in the line of duty, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Home Secretary Priti Patel and chief constables from forces across the country.
Gillian Wombwell, 75, whose detective husband and his two colleagues were shot in a 1960s killing that remains notorious to this day, said: “I think it’s amazing.”
“It may have been a long time coming but my goodness they’ve picked the right place and it’s just phenomenal.”
During the ceremony, The Prince of Wales unveiled a plaque at the monument, which commemorates almost 5,000 police officers and staff who have died on duty – 1,500 from acts of violence.
The Prince told the invited guests during the open-air ceremony: “On behalf of the nation, I would particularly like to express my profound gratitude for the valour and sacrifice of those who have laid down their lives to keep us safe, to remember their families who mourn, and to recognise those who continue to serve in order to safeguard our freedoms.
“Whilst our expressions of appreciation will always be hopelessly inadequate and, unfortunately, make the anguish no easier to bear, I do pray that this memorial will not only provide a hallowed place for us all to pay tribute to each of them, but also the reassurance that those who have given their lives so selflessly will leave a lasting legacy and will never be forgotten.”
A minute’s silence was held to remember all those from the police service who have died in the line of duty and His Royal Highness then led a wreath-laying ceremony, followed by the Prime Minister, Home Secretary and others.
The 39ft (12m) tall brass memorial is in the form of a partially open door or portal pierced with leaf-shaped cut-outs representing courage, sacrifice and lives lost.
It was designed by Walter Jack and includes two low screens bearing the names of 2,000 police officers and staff, along with spaces for reflection.