THEY gave their lives while protecting the public.
Now police officers who died in the line of duty will be remembered as a memorial wall is officially opened.
Hampshire Constabulary is unveiling the memorial to officers and staff at its support and training headquarters in Netley. A ceremony is due to take place this afternoon to mark the occasion, with families and colleagues honouring the dead.
John Apter, Hampshire Police Federation chairman, has led the project to install the memorial.
He said the need for a memorial came to light after the motorcycle crash death of Fareham-based officer PC Steve Rawson in April 2013.
Mr Apter said: ‘It was following the tragic death of our colleague PC Rawson that I realised we had no physical memorial to fallen officers. ‘
‘I felt strongly that this wrong should be put right and there must be a place where our colleagues would be remembered. We needed something as a mark of these brave officers who have died in the line of duty.
‘This is a important piece of work and I’m so proud to be able to unveil this long-awaited memorial to fallen officers from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
‘It’s essential that those colleagues we have lost are never forgotten.’
The name of each officer who has died in the line of duty since 1847 – when records began – is on the plaques.
Every living former Hampshire chief constable is set to attend, with former chief Sir John Hoddinott’s daughter to attend. Sir John died in August 2001.
Chief constable Olivia Pinkney said: ‘We’re forever indebted to our colleagues who put their lives on the line in the course of duty. They’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice and this memorial is a fitting tribute to their memory.
‘I’d like to personally thank John Apter and everyone who has been instrumental in bringing this project to fruition.’
Michael Lane, crime commissioner, said: ‘My predecessor and I share a commitment to and respect for the legacy of those who went before us and, in honouring them, to commit to sustain and build on their legacy.’