Fallen and deceased officers honoured at Police Remembrance Day services

Fallen and deceased officers honoured at Police Remembrance Day services

Police Remembrance Day Huia Pin
National News

Police staff and members of the Police family will gather on Friday to mark Police Remembrance Day.

Police Remembrance Day is held every year on 29 September, the feast day of the Archangel Michael, the Patron Saint of Police. It honours Police staff who have been slain or died as a result of their duties as well serving, retired and former Police staff who have passed away in the preceding 12 months.

Services this year will be held around the country, including a national service at the Royal New Zealand Police College.

Thirty-two Police officers and officers of the former Ministry of Transport Traffic Safety Service, which merged with Police in 1992, have died as a result of criminal acts since New Zealand Police was established in 1886.

A further 48 constabulary and non-constabulary staff members have died as a direct result of performing their duties. Eight of these, all members of the Traffic Safety Service, will be formally recognised for the first time this year (see below).

They were identified through Police’s ongoing Recognition Project, which was initiated to ensure that all Police staff who have died in the service of their communities are appropriately acknowledged.

Commissioner Mike Bush, who will attend the national ceremony at the RNZPC, says Remembrance Day is the most poignant day in the Police calendar.

“It’s a time for all of us, not just Police, to reflect on the bravery and sacrifice of those who have been slain on duty, as well as the contribution of those who have died as a direct result of their efforts to keep their communities safe.

“In 32 cases, these deaths were the result of criminal acts, and in another 48, they were caused by crashes, accidents, drownings while attempting to save lives and illnesses contracted while carrying out their Police duties.

“Whatever the reason, it’s important that we identify all these staff and ensure they are properly honoured and remembered, not just by us, but by the communities they served.”

The eight Traffic Safety Service staff identified by the Recognition Project this year are:

  • Main Highways Board Inspector Thomas Arthur Allcock, 25, stationed in Rotorua. He died on 24 December 1938 after he was struck by a truck while trying to pull over another vehicle;
  • Transport Department Inspector Edmund Lawrence Fox, 34, stationed in Gore. He died on 6 December 1954 in a head-on collision with a truck that crossed the centre-line near Waikaia;
  • Transport Department Inspector George Henry Jenner, 58, stationed in Christchurch. He died on 15 May 1955 in a collision with a truck while supervising a drivers’ licence test;
  • Traffic Officer Richard Henry Cecil Dench, 31, stationed in Christchurch. He died on 23 November 1970 when he lost control of his motorcycle during pursuit training on the road between Paremata and Pauatahanui, Porirua;
  • Traffic Officer Martin Ross Miller, 21, stationed at Wellington. He died on 14 March 1973 when his patrol motorcycle and a truck collided on the Johnsonville-Porirua motorway;
  • Traffic Officer George Nelson, 23, stationed in Wellington. He died on 25 October 1975 when a sports car pulled into his path, throwing him from his motorcycle and causing a severe head injury;
  • Traffic Officer Robert Clive Bell, 21, stationed in Wellington. He was responding to a vehicle crash on his patrol motorcycle, with the red light flashing, on 12 February 1978, when he crashed into a car that pulled into his path;
  • Traffic Officer Steven Alan Perry, 22, stationed at Lower Hutt. His patrol motorcycle collided with another vehicle on the corner of Nelson Street and the Esplanade, Petone, and he died of his injuries in Wellington Hospital on 4 April 1983.

As well as services in New Zealand, Police Remembrance Day will be observed across Australia and the Pacific.

ENDS

Media Note:

Media are invited to attend the Police Remembrance Day services starting at 11am on Friday, 29 September. The national service will be held at the Royal New Zealand Police College in Porirua. If you are planning to attend, please advise leigh.coleman@police.govt.nz by 5pm Thursday, 28 September.

Police Remembrance Day services are being held in various towns across the country. For details of your nearest service, please also contact leigh.coleman@police.govt.nz.

The full list of the 48 people so far identified as having died as a result of their Police duties is on the Police website: www.police.govt.nz. 

Remembrance Day Background:

Police Remembrance Day is held every year on 29 September, which is the feast day of the Archangel Michael, patron saint of police.

It is marked by Police in New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and the Solomon Islands.

This year the 32 Police and traffic officers slain on duty and 48 officers and employees who have died as result of performing their duties since 1886 will be remembered, along with serving and former officers and employees who have died in the past year.

The Police Remembrance Day Huia Pin:

The Police Remembrance Day Pin was developed by New Zealand Police and the Police Association.

Now lost to us, the Huia bird's tail plumage is something rare and special.

To wear it is considered by Maori to be a great honour.

By incorporating the Police chevron into the Huia tail feather, the design of the pin symbolises the honouring of someone special, now lost to Police.

Police staff throughout New Zealand take part in Remembrance Day by wearing the pin to honour the memory of those police officers slain while carrying out their police duties.

Any donations towards the pin go to the Police Families Charitable Trust for the families of New Zealand police officers who have been slain while carrying out their police duties.

Huia e! Huia tangata kotahi.

He totara kua hinga.

The feather of the huia, for someone special.

One dearly departed.