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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 October 2006, 17:38 GMT 18:38 UK
Service remembers police deaths
Hannah Woodward, daughter of Sergeant Mark Woodward, lights a candle
About 4,000 officers have died since the police were first set up
The third annual service commemorating police officers killed in the line of duty has taken place in Belfast.

Around 2,000 serving and former officers together with the families of deceased police officers gathered at the city's Waterfront Hall.

Pc Joe Carroll of Northumbria Police and Pc Sharon Beshenivsky, of the West Yorks force, who died in the past year, were among officers remembered.

The Prince of Wales recently became the day's patron.

'Ultimate sacrifice'

Opening the service in Belfast, Northern Ireland Security Minister Paul Goggins said it was a very important occasion for all those in the policing community.

"There will be a mixture of emotions this afternoon, and we will all share feelings of sadness when we think about those police officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to their community.

"But being together will give us a sense of strength and solidarity," he said.

About 4,000 UK officers have died on duty since the first police was set up.

Pc Joe Carroll, 46, of Dewsbury, West Yorks, died after a crash on the A69, near Hexham, Northumberland, in April.

2006 POLICE DEATHS
Pc Richard Gostage, 46, North Wales Police
Pc John Simmons, 27, Bedfordshire Police
Pc Allan Shaw, 33, Greater Manchester Police
Pc Ryan Hunt, 31, West Midlands Police
Sgt Paul Hutchinson, 37, Devon and Cornwall Constabulary
Pc Joseph Carroll, 46, Northumbria Police
Pc Deborah Harman-Burton, 28, West Midlands Police
Pc Alan McMurray, 39, Lothian and Borders Police
Adrian Martin, 45, police community support officer, Metropolitan Police
Pc Karen Balfour, 37, Lothian and Borders Police

Pc Sharon Beshenivsky, who was 38 when she died, was shot during a robbery at the Universal Express travel agents in Bradford in November 2005.

Her husband Paul said after the service: "Today isn't just about Sharon and it is not just about the thousands of officers who have died before her.

"It is also about those who put their lives on the line every day."

Church of Ireland Primate, Archbishop Robin Eames, read a message from the Prince of Wales, who was unable to attend because of a previously agreed engagement.

"This day of commemoration is a way for the nation to recognise the best of all human qualities - selfless and devoted courage - and the example and valour of those officers who died on duty should act as an inspiration to us all."

Memory lapse

The President of the Belfast Islamic Society, Yaqub Joya, had been due to play a part but did not arrive at the ceremony.

But Mr Joya later insisted he had wanted to go to the service, indicating that he had simply forgotten to attend.

When contacted, he said: "Oh my God! We've been so busy with Ramadan. We had a meeting which finished at 12.30am last night.

"We've just had a new carpet fitted and all these things are going on and stressed me. I really wanted to go. All the words that I wanted to say had been prepared."

He added that the police co-operation he had received with the Islamic centre had been outstanding.

"We are all in the community together," he said.

The chairman of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, Professor Sir Desmond Rea, welcomed those attending the service.

He said it was particularly significant that the service was taking place in Northern Ireland as more than 300 officers had lost their lives there.

"It is imperative to recognise and honour the contribution officers from police services throughout the United Kingdom make to civic society," he added.

The service was attended by Noel Conroy, the Commissioner of the Republic of Ireland's police force, the Garda.

The British government was represented by the Defence Secretary John Reid.

The first service was held in St Paul's and last year it took place in Cardiff.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Candles being lit at the memorial service



SEE ALSO
Police remember fallen officers
07 Sep 06 |  London
Killing brings Bradford closer
11 Jan 06 |  Bradford

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