The Police Roll of Honour Trust is unique in being the only charity carrying out research which aims to name and honour every United Kingdom police officer who has fallen in the line of duty.
The Trust is creating the National Police Officers Roll of Honour and Remembrance, which will record, for the first time, details of all British Police Officers who lost their lives on, or as a result of, duty whilst serving in the United Kingdom or in UK administered forces overseas. The Roll will pay tribute to as many as 5,000 police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty since the earliest days of professional law enforcement over three centuries ago.
The age of modern professional policing is rightly seen as emanating from the formation, by Sir Robert Peel, of the Metropolitan Police in 1829, but it did not start there. The Office of Constable is an ancient one and for centuries was an unpaid position carried out by ordinary citizens.
Prior to 1829 policing was carried out by various peace officers such as the locally appointed but unpaid Parish Constables. The first professional law enforcement officers came some 150 years earlier, following the English Civil War and restoration of the Monarchy, in the reign of Charles II (1660-1685) with the formation of a paid Night-Watch. These Watchmen or "Charlies" have often been maligned, but many paid the ultimate price, and at least 25 are known to have been murdered, whilst faithfully carrying out their duties.
In the mid 18th century the Bow Street Patrol (known as 'Runners') was formed in London and in 1792 the first statutory salaried Constables were attached by Act of Parliament to Police Offices throughout London.
Following this, Parliament began to pass local Acts, notably the Glasgow Police Act of 1800, allowing local authorities to begin employing full time constables. Sir Robert Peel actually began his police reforms in Ireland, which joined the UK in 1801, with the formation of thePeace Preservation Force in 1814 and the Irish County Constabulary in 1822.
How many of these earlier peace officers died in the execution of their duty is unknown but the first recorded death in the "Proceedings of the Old Bailey" dates from 1680 with the unlawful killing of a constable whose name was not recorded. This first, unknown, constable is included on the Roll to represent all the unknown dead.
The National Police Officers Roll of Honour and Remembrance is fully inclusive of all police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty, by any means, throughout history.
The Roll of Honour pays special tribute to those officers who have been killed, or died as a result of injuries received, in consequence of the execution of their duty. This includes deaths on duty through criminal acts; enemy action during air raids; misadventure while taking special risks to protect the public or make arrests; and other accidents whilst on operational duty, including patrol duties and operational training. It also includes deaths off duty whilst in the performance of acts of gallantry, or the protection of life or property, through acts of terrorism or in consequence of their present or former status as police officers.
The Roll of Honour commemorates their sacrifice in the public service and provides a focal point and visible means for family and friends to reflect on the loss of their loved ones and to know that their loss is not forgotten. As well as allowing a greatful nation to honour those who died in the service of their country, whilst upholding the finest traditions of British policing.
Through Remembrance we also commemorate those officers who have otherwise died on or in connection with their duty in other ways: through natural causes; or unknown causes; or when on non-operational duty, including travelling to or from duty; and when off duty, or where their duty status is unknown, through enemy action or whilst serving overseas.
The Roll of Honour and Remembrance has been compiled after more than thirty years research, containing over 4,000 names from the United Kingdom alone; with around 500 further names still undergoing research prior to their entry on the Roll. Losses in British Colonial and other UK administered forces overseas are currently undergoing research and may number as many as 1,000 more.
In a work of this magnitude omissions and errors are inevitable; in addition to recent deaths, each year dozens of newly discovered historical names are added for the first time remembering officers long forgotten, as well as scores of updates and amendments. If you are aware of any omission or error please contact us.
The main Roll is compiled by Country and alphabetically by current police force area, with cases being shown in chronological order within their constituent forces. The pages display citations for each officer including their rank, full name, date of death, age, brief details of how they died and any posthumous honours. Other information includes lists of current forces, criteria for inclusion and statistics on the causes of death.
Within these pages are the names of many heroes and heroines but mostly they contain the names of ordinary men and women – fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, partners, friends and colleagues. What makes them extraordinary is not how they died but how they lived - doing an often dangerous and thankless job, forgotten until needed - protecting the community for which, in the course of their duties, they lost their lives.
Sadly, as long as police officers are prepared to take risks in the protection of their communities, it is inevitable that the Roll will never be complete. The Trust will ensure future losses are also recorded and added to the Roll, which will continue to serve as an ongoing memorial to those who lose their lives in the service of the public, and those left behind may now be assured their loss will never be forgotten.
This Roll is a tribute to those men and women and to their families.