The creation of the Roll
of Honour and Remembrance, will record, for the
first time, details of all British Police Officers who
lost their lives on, or as a result of, duty whilst
serving in the United Kingdom or in UK administered
forces overseas. The Roll will
pay tribute to
as many as 5,000 police officers who have lost their
lives in the line of duty since the earliest days of professional law
enforcement over three centuries
Whilst the age of
modern professional policing is rightly seen as emanating from the formation, by
Sir Robert Peel, of
the Metropolitan Police in 1829, it did not start there. The Office of Constable is an ancient one and for
centuries was an unpaid position carried out by ordinary citizens.
Prior to 1829 policing was carried
out by various peace officers such as the locally appointed but unpaid Parish
Constables. The first professional law enforcement officers came some 150 years
earlier, following the English Civil War and restoration of the Monarchy, in the reign of Charles II
(1660-1685) with the formation of a paid Night-Watch.
These Watchmen or
“Charlies” have often been maligned, but many paid the ultimate price and
at least 25 are known to have been murdered, whilst
out their duties.
In the mid 18th century the Bow Street Patrol (known as
‘Runners’) was formed in London and in 1792 the first statutory
salaried Constables were attached by Act of Parliament to Police Offices
Following this Parliament began to
pass local Acts, notably the Glasgow Police Act of 1800, allowing local
authorities to begin employing full time constables. Sir Robert Peel actually
began his police reforms in Ireland, which joined the UK in 1801, with the formation of the Peace Preservation Force in 1814 and the Irish County Constabulary in 1822.
How many of these earlier peace officers died in the execution of their duty is unknown but the first recorded death in the
“Proceedings of the Old Bailey” dates from 1680 with the unlawful killing of a constable
whose name was not recorded. This first, unknown, constable is included on the
Roll to represent
all the unknown dead.
INTRODUCTION TO THE ROLL
The National Police Officers Roll of Honour and Remembrance is fully inclusive
of all police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty, by any means, throughout history.
ROLL OF HONOUR pays special tribute to those officers who have
been killed, or died as a result of injuries received,
in consequence of the execution of their duty. This includes deaths on duty through criminal acts, enemy action during air raids, misadventure
while taking special risks to protect the public or make arrests, and other accidents
whilst on operational duty including patrol duties and operational training. It also includes deaths off duty whilst in the performance of acts of gallantry, or in the protection of life or property, or in consequence of their present or former status as police officers, for example through acts of terrorism or revenge attacks.
The Roll of Honour commemorates their sacrifice in the public service and provides a focal point and visible means for family and friends to reflect on the loss of their loved ones and to know that their loss is not forgotten. As well as allowing a grateful nation to honour those who died in the service of their country, whilst upholding the finest traditions of British policing.
Through REMEMBRANCE we also commemorate those officers who have otherwise died on or in connection with their duty, in other ways e.g.:- through natural causes, or unknown causes, or when on non-operational duty including travelling to or from duty; and when off duty, or where their duty status is unknown, through enemy action, and whilst serving overseas.
The Roll of Honour and Remembrance has been compiled over more than thirty years
research, and encompasses some 5,000 line of duty deaths, containing over 4,000 names from the United Kingdom alone, with around 500 further names still
undergoing research prior to their entry on the Roll. Losses in British Empire, Colonial and other UK administered forces overseas are currently undergoing research and may number as many as 1,000 more.
In a work of this magnitude omissions and errors are
inevitable; in addition to recent deaths, each year dozens of
newly discovered historical names are added for the first time, remembering officers long forgotten, as well as scores of updates and amendments.
The complete Roll is compiled by Country and alphabetically by
current Police Force area, with cases being shown in chronological order within
their constituent forces. The pages display citations for each officer
including their rank, full name, date of death, age, brief details of how they
died and any posthumous honours. Other pages include a list of current forces,
criteria for inclusion and statistics on the causes of
Annual Rolls are under construction and now updated contemporaneously; daily Rolls and individual citation pages are also planned or in progress.
Within these pages are the names of many heroes and heroines
but mostly they contain the names of ordinary men and women – fathers and mothers, husbands
and wives, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, partners, friends and
What makes them all extraordinary is not how they died but how they lived - doing an often dangerous and thankless job, forgotten until needed -
protecting the community for which, in the course of their duties, they lost
Sadly, as long as police officers
are prepared to take risks in the protection of their communities, it is
inevitable that the Roll will never be complete. We will ensure future
losses are also recorded and added to the Roll, which will continue to serve as
an ongoing memorial to those who lose their lives in the service of the public,
and those left behind may now be assured their loss will never be forgotten.
This Roll is a tribute to those men and women and to their families...
LEST WE FORGET