Redefining Remembrance

Our Digital Remembrance Programme will be a fitting tribute to our police service, commemorating lives lost while celebrating lives lived.  Working with our valued partner the Police Roll of Honour Trust (incorporated by Royal Charter), it will build upon their extensive data.

It is being designed following a comprehensive engagement exercise, including a national survey representing the views of over 200,000 people.

The Digital Remembrance Programme will include:

  • Search capability that will allow users to find a member of the service by name, date of death, force, rank and other criteria
  • An interactive map showing where individuals fell
  • A timeline that will highlight how an individual’s death has impacted on momentous events in policing history
  • A 3D tour of the physical memorial for those unable to visit in person
  • The ability to leave personal tributes
  • Downloadable materials to support visits and educational programmes

We want to bring to life the stories of the people behind the badge who have given their lives to keep us safe, protect our communities and defend our freedoms.

Individual profiles will be developed, based on information, photographs, and images available. These will be created using the content from the Police Roll of Honour, and material from families, forces, policing museums and public and media archives.

Some examples of how our policing heroes could be remembered:

David Roderick Roberts

  • Police War Reserve Constable, Lancashire Constabulary
  • Died 01/01/1941

One of six police officers killed when a landmine hit Old Trafford HQ in East Union Street in the Manchester Christmas Blitz. Four officers were killed instantly, two died a few days later.

Christopher John Wiggins

  • Police Constable, Essex Police
  • Died 13/10/1992
  • Killed by a lorry while he was protecting the scene of a car fire on the motorway

Christopher served with Essex Police from March 8th 1982 and died on October 13th  1992.

On the 13th of October, 1992 Brentwood Traffic-based Police Constable Christopher ‘Wiggy’ Wiggins was on duty patrolling the M25 motorway with Pc Richard Raker. That evening they responded to a report of a car on fire between junctions 27 (M11) and 28 (A12) (South Weald). On their arrival, they found the car well alight on the hard shoulder and so implemented a lane closure, with Chris placing the police vehicle in the fend-off position.

Cones were also placed out and the motorway matrix signs operated. Whilst Chris was still in the police car, alone, it was struck by a heavy goods vehicle, causing the police car to burst into flames. He was killed instantly. It was suspected that the driver of the heavy goods vehicle had fallen asleep at the wheel. He was arrested and subsequently convicted of careless driving. He received a two-year driving ban and an eighteen-month suspended sentence.

Chris was the son of a retired policeman and was only recently married. Writing in late 2001 his widow recalled:

I first knew Chris when he was an area car driver based in Ongar. Whenever we travelled through the area, his knowledge of the surroundings was such, that I was convinced he knew every blade of grass. Work wise, he was conscientious and didn’t mind hard work although sometimes lacked confidence. I can only ever recall him being late for an early turn once and that was my fault, I had switched the alarm off – I still detest mornings with a vengeance!

He got beaten up once whilst on duty, thereafter known as ‘ the battle of the Bell’ as it happened to be outside The Bell Public House in Ongar High Street. I know it hurt – in more ways than one – but he wouldn’t let me fuss, he just filled out the relevant incident report.

Chris was very pleased when he transferred onto traffic, first to Harlow, before ending up at Brentwood. Being trained as an advanced driver, he loved having the ability to drive well. You have never seen such a broad grin as the one he had upon his return from the VIP driving course he attended over at Boreham Airfield – something to do with the handbrake turns, J turns, and getting bits of rubber in his hair. (What there was left of it after marrying me!!) I asked him once what he would have done if he hadn’t joined Essex Police, and he honestly couldn’t answer me.

On a personal note, however, the one thing I will always recall him saying one of his philosophies was that there was no such thing as a bad child, only bad parents. He always had time and endless patience for children, from helping them to ride a bike to sitting with them and helping them read. My niece, who was barely five years old at the time of his death, still remembers and mentions him occasionally.

He was considerate, sensitive and very close to his family. His death has left a void, which will never be filled. You come to realise that life does go on, and although it is not as if you ever get over it, you just learn to live with it. Things tick along and the years fly by, but it only takes one little, seemingly insignificant, thing to transport you back, or spark the memory of a special moment.

Always loved, forever missed.

Alison Armitage

  • Police Constable, Greater Manchester Police
  • Died 05/03/2001
  • Received fatal injuries when she was run over by a stolen vehicle  which she was attempting to stop leaving the car park of a derelict pub in Robert Street, Hollinwood, Oldham

At the time of her death, aged just 29, WPC Alison Armstrong was the first Greater Manchester policewoman to be killed in the line of duty and was believed to be only the third woman officer in the country to be killed on operational duty.

Alison joined Greater Manchester Police five years before her death. She was promoted from normal patrol duties in Chadderton, Oldham, to the Operational Support Unit shortly before Christmas 2000.

Her divisional commander, Chief Supt Eric Hewitt, said: “She became a key member of that team immediately, and within a few weeks I had commended her for the outstanding part she played in the arrest of a crime gang. “Only yesterday, I was writing a commendation for her. She was instrumental in the arrest of six men in an attempted armed robbery just a few days ago.” She had an outstanding record for a young officer. She had a zest for life and her work that was infectious. She was one of our most popular officers. She was proud to be a police officer and I think she would love to just be remembered as a damn good police constable.

On March 5, 2001, Alison was nearing the end of her shift at Chadderton Police Station in Oldham, typing the final words on a report into her undercover work trailing a gang of would-be bank robbers. In another office, her commanding officer was putting her name forward for a commendation for “outstanding police work” after she discovered the gang’s plans.

She wouldn’t live to see the result of her work – six suspects arrested the week following her death. The award was given posthumously to her parents.

Word came in that a stolen Vauxhall Vectra had been spotted in the car park of a derelict public house in Robert Street, Hollinwood, Oldham, Greater Manchester. Alison went with her colleague PC Gary Lamont, to observe the vehicle while waiting for a tow truck to come and remove it. When a youth approached it without the officers noticing, entered and started the engine both officers ran to the vehicle, Alison from the rear, the other officer going to the driver’s door to open it and detain the occupant.

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