Police officers from across the UK joined the families of those who have lost loved ones in the police service to attend a Service of Remembrance today (Sunday July 29).
The annual service was organised by Care of Police Survivors (COPS), a national charity that supports the families of police officers and staff who have lost their lives on duty.
The event was held at the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) in Staffordshire, and a Roll of Honour was read out to pay tribute to the four police officers and one member of police staff who had died on duty during the past 12 months.
Four family members who had lost loved ones addressed the gathering and spoke to share memories of their officers and talk about how they had been supported by COPS.
Before the service, officers who took part in the Police Unity Tour (PUT), which involved more than 350 riders cycling the length and breadth of the UK, rode into the Arboretum. Each cyclist rode in memory of an officer who lost their life on duty, as well as raising funds for COPS.
The Blue Knights, a motorcycle club for police officers, also paid tribute to the fallen by riding into the NMA as part of the Blue Knights Law Ride.
The event was the conclusion of the charity’s annual ‘Survivor Weekend’, a two-day event bringing together the families of officers who have died on duty, ‘survivors’, to form friendships and lasting bonds to help them through the good and bad times.
The weekend included an outing to a theme park for younger survivors, as well as relaxation sessions and a craft workshop.
Survivor Glenda Benner, who lost her son Greg in 2015, said: “The first time we went to Survivor Weekend it was only three months after we lost Greg, and I was in a bit of a daze. When we got there though it just felt right. For the first time I felt that there were people that understood what I was feeling.
“This year was our fourth Survivor Weekend and it now feels like having an extension of your family. There are lots of people I keep in touch with throughout the year, and people are there for you when you need it.”
COPS Chief Executive, Tim Buckley, said: “This is the biggest event of our year and is a chance for us to get as many survivors together as possible to support each other in rebuilding their lives.
“We are grateful to all our supporters across the wide police family and beyond. We would like to thank all our fundraisers, in particular the Police Unity Tour and all their sponsors, who have raised a substantial amount of money over the years for COPS.”
This year marks the 15th anniversary of COPS, and since its foundation the charity has helped hundreds of families devastated by the loss of a loved one in the police service.
COPS is a peer support charity, enabling survivors from around the UK to support other survivors in practical ways. In addition to Survivor Weekend, the charity arranges numerous local and national events to offer opportunities for survivors to build a strong support network.
Working with its partner organisations Winston’s Wish and Red Arc, COPS also provides specialist counselling support to bereaved families.
If you’d like to be kept informed about the work of COPS, you can sign up for a free quarterly newsletter by visiting http://ukcops.org/newsletter-consent.php
Care of Police Survivors (otherwise known as COPS) is a UK registered charity dedicated to helping the families of police officers who have lost their lives whilst on duty (our ‘Survivors’). We aim to ensure that they have all the help they need to cope with such a tragedy, and that they remain part of the police family as they rebuild their lives.
COPS enables Survivors to help Survivors, the extent of help provided will always be controlled by the new Survivor. Sometimes an understanding listener is needed. Sometimes more practical help is required. Whatever the need, COPS will be able to put Survivors in touch with those who truly understand.
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