Memorial service held for police officers killed on duty


An annual memorial service is being held today for police officers who have died while on duty, with this year's event commemorating the lives lost in the Clutha helicopter tragedy.

Families, colleagues and senior officials from throughout the UK will join a congregation of 1,200 people in Edinburgh for National Police Memorial Day. 

A wreath will be laid to remember the people who died after a police helicopter crashed through the roof of the Clutha bar in Glasgow on November 29 2013.

All those who were in the helicopter, pilot David Traill, who was attached to Police Scotland's air support unit, and police constables Tony Collins and Kirsty Nelis were killed when the Eurocopter EC 135 crashed into the building.

Those killed in the pub were John McGarrigle, Mark O'Prey, Gary Arthur, Colin Gibson, Robert Jenkins and Samuel McGhee. Joe Cusker was pulled from the wreckage alive but later died in hospital.

The memorial service, of which Prince Charles is patron, will take place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre where candles will be lit for officers throughout the UK who have died while on duty since modern policing began.

Sergeant Joe Holness, who founded the commemoration, said: "This special day gives us the opportunity to come together as a nation to remember our loved ones, friends and colleagues who have made the ultimate sacrifice whilst protecting the communities they served.

"It is an honourable day and a poignant reminder of the dangerous nature of policing."

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "I am honoured to have been asked to make the opening remarks of welcome at this year's National Police Memorial Day Service.

"Each day, right across the country, police officers make an incredible contribution to our communities and we recognise and value the incredible bravery they display as they undertake their duties, often in extremely dangerous situations.

"Today's service will give us all the opportunity to remember and honour those officers who have given their lives while in the line of duty. We will never forget their courage, and my thoughts are very much with families, friends and colleagues of those who have died. I hope they are reassured and comforted by our continued respect and gratitude for the contribution made by their loved ones."