Belfast Telegraph

Prince Charles praises RUC and PSNI at National Police Memorial Day service at Waterfront Hall

The Prince of Wales paid tribute to the "enormous sacrifices" made by the RUC and PSNI at a service of remembrance for fallen police officers at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast on Sunday.

Prince Charles said British policing is a noble profession which is admired throughout the world.

He is patron of the National Police Memorial Day, which remembers almost 4,000 officers killed on duty.

Thousands of police from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland attended the service, which moves around the UK and this year was held in the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.

Home Secretary Theresa May also took part in the event.

Charles wrote a message to those present.

It said: "The British police service is a noble profession, respected and admired throughout the world.

"The courageous men and women who proudly form its ranks are a shining example of the best of public service, embodying the values that we, as a nation, hold dear.

"Day after day they place our safety above that of their own in order that we may live in peace, with the rule of law upheld."

He also paid tribute to the "enormous sacrifices" made by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and its successor the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

"We owe them an immense debt of gratitude."

Sergeant Joe Holness, who founded the commemoration, said: "It brings together police forces, officers, colleagues, friends and family from across the country to remember and give recognition to those that have made the ultimate sacrifice protecting us.

"It is a day that is as profound now as it was 11 years ago when this event first started."

Charles is the patron of National Police Memorial Day, which was inaugurated by Sgt Holness after his colleague was killed on duty.

Mrs May said: "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.

"I am honoured to take part in National Memorial Day and to commemorate the police officers who have fallen."

Steve White, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said it was a poignant and significant day for the policing family as officers throughout the UK gather to pay tribute to fallen colleagues.

"Their dedication to duty and self-sacrifice will never be forgotten," he said.

Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) president Sir Hugh Orde 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."

Services have been held all over the United Kingdom to reflect the national contribution made by the police, organisers said.

The inaugural service was held at St Paul's Cathedral on Sunday October 3 2004.

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