New Zealand Police Recognise Fallen Employees

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New Zealand Police has formally recognised 38 previously unheralded employees who died as a result of their duties at their annual Remembrance Day service.

There are 29 names on a memorial wall at the Royal New Zealand Police College commemorating officers who have been killed by a criminal act since 1886, but commissioner Mike Bush said others who have died will also be remembered.

“It’s been our wish for some time to also formally remember other employees who died as a direct result of their police duties,” he said.

“We needed to find a way to honour those who lost their lives in crashes, accidents, explosions, by drowning or from illnesses contracted while carrying out their police duties.

“Their contribution is part of our history and they need to be formally recognised.”

The service took place on Tuesday.

Source: NZCity News.

Police staff and others have been wearing the distinctive huia feather-shaped Police Remembrance Pin this week as they reflect on those who have lost their lives in service to the society they swore to protect.

The symbol of Police Remembrance Day is the chevron-embedded huia feather, which is worn as a pin by officers, family and others as a mark of respect.
The symbol of Police Remembrance Day is the chevron-embedded huia feather, which is worn as a pin by officers, family and others as a mark of respect.

Today marks Police Remembrance day, with a service to be held at the Royal New Zealand Police College. Many other services will also take place across the country.

The day of remembrance falls on the 29th of September, as it is the feast day of the Archangel Michael, patron saint of police. 

Police Association President Greg O’Connor says “Every police officer knows they work in a unique and inherently risky profession. Increasingly, police are faced with potentially life-threatening situations even in the course of ‘routine’ tasks. With so many near misses in recent times we are thankful to not be adding another name to the Memorial Wall,”

“These near misses include officers being confronted by armed offenders in Ohakune, Motueka and Upper Hutt in recent months, along with the attack on an officer outside a WINZ office in Foxton and the incident outside Waitakere Hospital late last year where two unarmed officers managed to control an armed gunman.” 

The pin was designed by the Police Association as a way for members of Police throughout Aotearoa to feel part the day. It has also been promoted and embraced as the symbol of police remembrance in New Zealand. 

This year, the names of 38 New Zealand Police employees and staff who died as a direct result of their duties will be read out at the Remembrance Day service, along with the 29 officers slain on duty and the serving and former staff who have died in past years.

This is the first time that police killed on duty have been officially recognised at the national service.

Source: Maori Television.

The annual Police Remembrance Day service has a new look this year with the inclusion of the names of 38 employees who have died as a result of their duties since the New Zealand Police was established 1886.

Police have for a long time formally recognised the 29 officers killed on duty since 1886 as a result of a criminal act. Their names appear on a memorial wall at the Royal New Zealand Police College and they are commemorated at Police Remembrance Day services on 29 September each year.

“It’s been our wish for some time to also formally remember other employees who died as a direct result of their Police duties,” says Commissioner Mike Bush.

“We needed to find a way to honour those who lost their lives in crashes, accidents, explosions, by drowning or from illnesses contracted while carrying out their Police duties. Their contribution is part of our history and they need to be formally recognised.”

In 2013 Police established the Recognition Project to set some criteria and correctly identify eligible employees.

Research to date has established that 38 employees have so far met the criteria, which are that the person must have been a Police employee and have died as a direct result of injuries sustained or illness or disease contracted in the course of their Police duties.

“Police has employed many thousands of people in our 129-year history. Identifying those who died as a result of their duties was a big task and despite our best efforts there may be people who have been inadvertently missed or whose families believe should be included but aren’t on the current list.

“The Remembrance Day recognition is the first step in a continuing process. We’re very willing to consider further information that becomes available and include anyone who meets the criteria,” Mr Bush says.

The first person to die as a result of duty was Senior Constable Henry Porter, who was aged 41 when he accidentally drowned while doing his night rounds in Port Chalmers on 21 June 1887.

Other deaths include the crew of the Eagle helicopter, who were killed when it collided with a fixed wing aircraft over Auckland on 26 November 1993, and a member of the Christchurch Child Protection Unit who died when the CTV building collapsed in the 2011 Canterbury earthquake.

Remembrance Day services honour Police colleagues in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific who have been killed on duty or died in service in the preceding year. Former staff members who have died in the past 12 months are also remembered.

Source: New Zealand Police.

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