Letter: Police back Winner monument

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The Independent Online
THE ARTICLE about the National Police Memorial on your front page last week was both inaccurate and less than fair. Under the drawing of a memorial which was credited to Ivor Robert-Jones (misspelt) and which showed a memorial which we told your writer had been discarded and was not designed by Ivor Roberts- Jones anyway, was the misleading headline 'Winner's police memorial has officers cringing'. 'Sections of the police' were credited with this damning remark.

All you could produce to add up to 'sections of the police' was one unnamed member of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland and one member of the Superintendents' Association (also with his name misspelt). Yet when asked for their views on Ivor Roberts-Jones's excellent sculpture, the chairman of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland wrote to me: 'I and my organisation approve of and are impressed by your proposed design.'

We intend to retain Ivor Roberts-Jones's central figure of a grieving police officer and a slain colleague under a shroud. The Royal Fine Art Commission said it had full confidence in the sculptor and considered the work impressive. This view was echoed by all 12 police associations.

In fact, the one area where we have had some difficulty was completely ignored by your writer. While greatly admiring the sculpture, we feel the surrounding architectural setting is less than satisfactory. The Royal Fine Art Commission, when first shown this, described it as 'just acceptable', but wrote it did not wish to be thought of as approving of it. When we were later led to Ivor Roberts-Jones by the President of the Royal Academy, Sir Roger de Grey, Mr Roberts-Jones also felt the setting difficult to work with. We have accordingly asked him to redesign the memorial incorporating his main figure. When that is approved as thoroughly as his previous work for us we look forward to placing this memorial on its site in The Mall as a tribute to our policemen and women.

Michael Winner

Chairman, The Police Memorial

Trust, London W1