May to pay respects to fallen police officers

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The Independent Online

The Home Secretary is expected to join hundreds of people to honour police officers killed in the line of duty today.

Theresa May will join police chiefs and families, friends and colleagues of the fallen officers at the National Police Memorial Day service in Belfast.

Seven officers were added to the roll of honour in the past 12 months, including Pc Bill Barker, who was swept to his death in the Cumbrian floods, and Pc Daniel Cooper, whose patrol car crashed into a tree while he was responding to an urgent call for assistance from other officers in Wiltshire.

Pc Barker, 44, of Egremont, was swept off a bridge to his death by floods in Workington, Cumbria, last November, while he was directing motorists to safety.

Speaking at the time, his widow Hazel said: "I have the comfort of knowing that Bill died doing the job he loved, and the fact that he was helping others is just typical Bill."

The traffic officer's body was found on a beach in Allonby several hours after he disappeared from the road bridge over the River Derwent. Mr Barker served with Cumbria Constabulary for 25 years and left four children.

Mr Cooper, 22, of Wiltshire Police, died when his patrol car hit a tree near Bradford-on-Avon on February 1.

His mother Heather Cooper paid tribute, saying he was "just somebody who wanted to give to the community, was just so good around people and always willing to do things for others".

The other five officers added to the roll of honour in the last 12 months died following collisions on their way to or from work.

The National Police Memorial Day was founded by Police Sergeant Joe Holness in 2004 after his colleague at Kent Police was killed while carrying out road safety checks.

It has brought together more than 20 years of research to create a national Roll of Honour for fallen police officers.

Mr Holness said: "Each year we rightly stop and remember the sacrifices made by police officers throughout the UK with an annual, national memorial day in recognition of their courage and sacrifice."

Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents rank-and-file officers, added: "This day is a way for the nation to recognise the best of all human qualities: selfless and devoted courage.

"The example and valour of those officers who died on duty acts as an inspiration to us all."