It was the death of Fareham-based PC Steve Rawson that prompted the creation of the memorial unveiled yesterday at Hampshire Constabulary’s support and training headquarters.
PC Rawson died in a tragic accident in 2013 when his unmarked motorbike collided with a car performing a banned manoeuvre, leaving behind a young family.
It was this sad incident that proved to be the catalyst for a lasting memorial to all the county’s officers who have died in the line of duty since 1847, when records began.
The 61 names on the memorial pay tribute to those who went above and beyond, and paid the ultimate price for their service.
Unsurprisingly, some of those names represent tales of great heroism and selflessness.
Take PC Stanley Spooner, who died during the Second World War as he tried to get residents to the safety of an air raid shelter.
Granted, those stories come from a different time. But as PC Rawson’s untimely death proves, it is not just wartime when officers die suddenly.
While we rightly want the police to be there to protect us, giving their lives goes beyond what anyone would expect of them.
People would be naive to apply to become police officers and not expect to ever be put in danger.
But they are not the armed forces and death goes beyond any realistic expectation of what should be expected in the regular line of duty.
Hampshire Police Federation chairman John Apter said: ‘It’s essential that those colleagues we have lost are never forgotten.’
By placing the memorial where it will be seen by everyone coming and going from the HQ, it guarantees that will be in the forefront of people’s minds.