West Mercia Police chief: Unveiling of new memorial marks 'historic day for policing in this country'

The unveiling of the new UK police memorial at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire marked an historic day for policing in this country, the chief constable of West Mercia Police has said.

The new UK Police Memorial at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire
The new UK Police Memorial at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire

The memorial was unveiled by The Prince of Wales on Wednesday.

At the same time, West Mercia Police Chief Constable Anthony Bangham joined the families of fallen officers and staff, alongside force representatives to plant a tree and unveil a plaque at the force headquarters at Hindlip in Worcestershire.

Chief Constable Anthony Bangham and The Rev Dick Johnson

He said: “This is an historic day; for policing in this country, for those who continue to serve, those who have retired and most importantly for the families and friends of those officers and staff who have lost their lives whilst protecting others.

“The National Memorial is the culmination of seven years’ work.

"It has been created to honour the courage and sacrifice of members of our police service who have paid the ultimate price: a price where duty came first in order to keep others safe.

“Coinciding with the dedication of the national memorial, today seems a fitting moment for us to create a single place of remembrance at West Mercia Police headquarters for all of our colleagues who have lost their lives whilst on duty, protecting our communities.

“I hope the tree planted at Hindlip will continue to be a quiet place for reflection and remembrance for many generations to come.”

Prior to the unveiling ceremony at Hindlip, where the force chaplain The Rev Dick Johnson said a prayer and read out the names of those who have died while on duty with West Mercia, the chief constable and guests gathered to watch live the streaming of the dedication ceremony of the new memorial at the arboretum.

The new UK Police Memorial is 12 metres tall and made of bronze.

It is set within a beautifully landscaped area of the arboretum and has been designed for ceremony, tribute and personal acts of reflection.

Its leaf-shaped apertures represent courage, sacrifice and lives lost.

The dedication event was attended by hundreds of guests including Prince Charles, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, dignitaries, and representatives from all police forces across the country including Deputy Chief Constable Julian Moss from West Mercia Police, policing charities and the families and friends of officers who died while on duty.

Officers from West Mercia Police commemorated through the UK Police Memorial include PC Tony Barsby; PC Ron Boxley; DC John Irvine; PC Ashley Burchell; PC Paul Symonds; PC John Bonelle; PC Dave Hopkins; PC Ricky Gray; Sgt Ian Jones and DC Tony Wright.

The National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas is home to almost 400 thought-provoking memorials, including the National Armed Forces Memorial, and attracts more than 300,000 visitors per year.

For further information about the new memorial visit ukpolicememorial.org

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