Home Secretary backs UK Police Memorial

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Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott share a friendly exchange at the UK Police Memorial Trust lunch. Pic © JMU Journalism

Home Secretary Sajid Javid spoke of the importance of a monument to fallen police officers when JMU Journalism reporters gained an exclusive interview with him at Westminster this week.

The new UK Police Memorial will be a structure inscribed with the names of more than 1,400 police officers and staff killed on duty through violence or protecting the public.

There will also be a digital record that tells the story of policing and those behind the badge who tragically paid with their lives. Liverpool John Moores University students are working in a partnership with the Police Memorial Trust on the archive aspect of the project.

At a lunch hosted on Monday at the Speaker’s House in Parliament, it was highlighted why the memorial is so meaningful and what can be expected from it.

Describing its significance, Home Secretary Javid told JMU Journalism: “The project has done remarkably well, it is important to everyone. There are people that go out to work every day to protect us and put themselves in the face of danger. They don’t know what is going to happen, and sadly some of them don’t come back home.”

YouTube: Joe Maude & Kerry Norman, JMU Journalism TV

The memorial, which will cost £4m to build, will be an open area that everyone can visit at the at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire. Mr Javid, the Conservative MP for Bromsgrove, said: “It is there for quiet contemplation and reflection for families and friends. But it is also there for people like us to go pay our respects for the safety they have provided us.”

Former President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Sir Hugh Orde, has been highly involved in the scheme and the funding behind it. He said: “Modern policing in Britain does not have a proper and fitting tribute to those who give their lives protecting fellow citizens most unarmed. So, I think it is a critical infrastructure project. I think when we have built it, it will be quite amazing.”

Home Secretary Sajid Javid talks to JMU Journalism about the UK Police Memorial and the impact it will have on families and the police community. Pic © JMU Journalism

The memorial’s aim is to have a greater understanding and reconnection with the public and to bring back a sense of pride and value into UK policing.

Sir Hugh said: “The memorial fills a number of roles. For me, the most important people are the families of those who sacrificed their lives and that has always been a focus of the memorial. The half-open door will be the portal to which these families can walk through and see the names of their loved ones engraved forever in stone.”

The people of Liverpool turned out in their thousands in 2015 to show their solidarity at the funeral of Merseyside Police Constable Dave Phillips, who died in the line of duty.

His death was by no means an isolated case.

Victoria Morrison’s husband Jim was a Detective Constable who was off-duty when he gave chase to a bag snatcher in London in 1991. He cornered the thief who pulled out a knife and stabbed him. Jim died later in hospital, aged just 26, and the suspect was never caught.

Mrs Morrison told JMU Journalism: “It means an awful lot to all the police families – not just our own – and we think it is about time there is a national memorial that people can go to. It’s not necessarily about being a sad place to go to; it’s somewhere that life can be celebrated in a peaceful and calm environment.”

Audioboom: Kerry Norman, JMU Journalism Radio

Twitter: UK Police Memorial

Twitter: Joe Maude