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Last Updated: Monday, 3 October 2005, 06:40 GMT 07:40 UK
Tribute to police killed on duty
Pc Andrew James and niece Catrin
Pc James was hit by a car whilst chasing a drug addict burglar
More than 4,000 police officers who died in the course of duty have been remembered at a ceremony in Cardiff.

Around 1,000 people from across the UK gathered at St David's Hall on Sunday.

Families, friends, and colleagues of the officers were joined by Home Office Minister Hazel Blears and First Minister Rhodri Morgan.

Chief constables and police authority members also took part in the second National Police Memorial Day.

Among the Welsh officers remembered were Daniel Paul Thomas, 34, who died in a motorcycle accident on his way home to Bridgend in February, and Andrew James, 38, who was struck by a passing car while chasing a burglar on foot in 2003.

Police deaths
1,600 names in the National Police Memorial Role
15 police officers killed since 2000
5 officers killed in 2003
14 killed since last year's memorial service

The inaugural memorial service took place last year at St Paul's Cathedral in London and was attended by royalty and politicians as well as the families of those who died in the line of duty.

The remembrance day is supported by all police staff associations throughout the UK, as well as organisations which care for the loved ones left behind when tragedies occur.

Earlier this week, a memorial was unveiled in Nottinghamshire in memory of police officer Ged Walker.

He was killed in January 2003 by a drug addict he was trying to prevent stealing a taxi. He left a wife and two children.

police memorial at Hendon police college
Thousands of officers have given their lives

"Sadly, since last year's first memorial service, 14 police officers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland have lost their lives serving the public good," said Jan Berry, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, which is supporting the day.

"It is only fitting that their sacrifice, bravery, commitment to public service, and sense of justice is publicly honoured, along with the every police officer who has died upholding the law.

"Their loss is not just personal to family and friends. It is felt by local communities and society as whole. By upholding the law, police officers protect the freedoms which come with living in a democracy."

Serving officer Joe Holness began campaigning for a National Police Memorial Day after a colleague was killed by a hit-and-run driver.

'Fighting a war'

"When any police officer dies, it affects you," he said. "But when it's someone from your own force, it brings home the reality."

Director Michael Winner put 500,000 of his own money into getting a fitting memorial for officers lost in the line of duty.

"I formed the Police Memorial Trust 20 years ago because I think the police deserve a thank you," he explained.

"There are memorials to soldiers, sailors, and airmen killed in wars, but the police are fighting a war that has no end.

"I thought it was extraordinary that there was no memorial to them."

The ceremony in Cardiff was held on the first Sunday after St Michael's Day - St Michael being the patron saint of police officers, soldiers, and emergency service personnel.

St Michael the archangel appears in the early history of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam as the leader of God's army who fought the forces of evil.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Listen to why organisers felt there was a need for a commemoration service



SEE ALSO:
Chase Pc's death 'accidental'
30 Jun 04 |  Wales
Dead police officers remembered
29 Jun 05 |  London
Memorial dedicated to killed Pc
27 Sep 05 |  Nottinghamshire
Dog handler to get memorial stone
19 Sep 05 |  Nottinghamshire


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