London North Branch Chair Martyn Linton attended the National Police Memorial Day held in Cardiff this weekend. Here is his story.
Earlier this year I registered to attend the National Police Memorial Day along with another IPA member and colleagues from the Metropolitan Police to pay my respects to colleagues who had died in the execution of their duty. I was pleased to hear that my IPA friend who was also attending was to host a number of officers from America who were travelling over for the event.
I arrived in Cardiff on the Saturday morning and was met by a colleague from the Lambeth Borough who had arrived the day before. An hour later we were off into the city to meet the local Sergeant who looks after football/rugby policing. We met with colleagues from other UK forces and we were taken on a private tour of the Millenium Stadium, home the the Welsh Rugby Team. We were walked through the various areas of the stadium and were able to go pitch side. After the tour it was off to a local ‘rugby pub’ for a pint before a tour of Cardiff Castle.
When the tour had ended I had a few hours to myself to check into my hotel and get dressed ready to attend the NPMD Pre Event Reception being held at Cardiff City Hall.
At the Reception I met with IPA Vice President Clive Wood, Ken Davies and Denis Hunt from IPA Wales, colleagues from other force areas, families of fallen colleagues and of course our American guests.
The following day was the main event, National Police Memorial Day 2017. I met with my fellow 9 Region IPA friend and our American guests at their hotel and we walked through Cardiff City Centre towards the venue. The number of people turning their heads to see the smart dress uniform worn by our American guests was pleasing to to see. I will add that they did look very smart.
The service took place inside St David’s Hall. There were hundreds of people in attendance and all the seating overlooked the stage area. The South Wales Police Band started proceedings and a number of speeches, hymns and events such as lighting of candles followed. I was proud to join serving colleagues in the retaking of my Oath during the service.
After the service had finished I was proud to have a photo taken with my colleagues and our guests. The MPS Commissioner joined us. After this the Commissioner was given a number of gifts in the form of challenge coins by our American guests.
Sunday evening saw several people leaving Cardiff ready to return to work the following day. I remained in Cardiff with the guests and colleagues and what followed was a evening in a local pub where good conversation took place.
The following day it was home time for all. I enjoyed this weekend and was honoured to stand with others who were paying their respects. The sense of unity amongst all in attendance was truly moving and I had a number of moments where I thought that the thankless task of policing, the negative press, the knock backs, the stress and everything else really was worth it at the end of the day.
I would like to thank everyone involved in the organising of this fantastic and worthwhile event for their hard work. I would also like to thank the South Wales Police for looking after us during our visit.
You can make donations to this fantastic cause by visiting http://www.nationalpolicememorialday.org/