A memorial dedicated to police officers who have lost their lives while on duty has been unveiled at a ceremony attended by HRH The Prince of Wales.
The UK Police Memorial, which is located at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire honours those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while on duty protecting their communities.
South Wales Police Federation full-time representative Bryan Smith attended the service to represent the branch and joined guests including the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary and the families of fallen officers.
The new memorial, a 12-metre-tall sculpture, will act as a place for loved ones, friends, colleagues and members of the public to go to remember the officers who have been killed during the line of duty.
Addressing an audience of 400, as well as those who were watching live from home, Prince Charles said: “I am so pleased and proud to be able to join you today. This memorial recognises the unique contribution British police gives to the country and in fact, the world. I pray this memorial will provide a place to pay tribute and provide reassurance that those who have given their lives will leave a lasting legacy and will never be forgotten.”
He expressed his “profound gratitude” to “those who have laid down their lives” to protect the public and paid tribute to “those who continue to serve” today.
After the ceremony, national Federation chair John Apter, who attended the ceremony, said: “It’s really important the memorial - along with other memorials across the country – is recognised for what it is intended. That is to remember the supreme sacrifices colleagues have made over a great many years.
“It was an honour to have attended and to lay a wreath on behalf of the 130,000 police officers the Federation represents. This memorial will be especially important to colleagues and ensure friends and colleagues will always be remembered – they will never be forgotten.”
The £4.5 million memorial, which followed seven years of fund-raising and took 12 months to build, was designed by Walter Jack Studio.
The sculpture is designed to look like a slightly ajar door, said to signify officers going into the unknown during their line of work on a daily basis.
Sir Hugh Orde, chair of The Police Arboretum Memorial Trust, explained that it is decorated with cut-out leaves, which represent the lives of the heroic officers lost.
During the ceremony, the National Police Air Service (NPAS) paid tribute to fallen officers by taking part in a fly past and “bowing” in front of the sculpture. There was also a minute’s silence.
The British Police Symphony Orchestra performed during the event, with singer Katherine Jenkins OBE closing the ceremony with the National Anthem.
The event comes two months before this year’s annual National Police Memorial Day, which will be taking place on Sunday 26 September, and the Care of Police Survivors (COPS) memorial service on Sunday (2 August).