The service honours New Zealand, Australian and South Pacific police officers slain (ie, killed as the result of a criminal act) on duty. It also remembers Police staff – serving and retired, sworn and non-sworn – who have died in the past year.
Another roll call acknowledges members of Police from 1886 onwards who died as a result of carrying out their duties. The last name to be added to that list was Canterbury earthquake victim Pamela Brien, who was killed in the CTV building collapse in 2011.
Tributes to the officers and other staff, the calling of the Roll of Honour, a traditional salute and the laying of a wreath by the Commissioner of Police at the Police College Memorial Wall are integral parts of the service.
This year also marks the decade anniversaries of four officers slain on duty.
It’s 100 years since Constable Vivian Dudding was shot in Wellington on October 6, 1919, as he attended a domestic dispute. The lone officer was shot through the eye by the divorced husband of the woman whose house it was. The newspapers at the time called it the “Thorndon Tragedy”. In 2010, the Police Association, in conjunction with Police, assisted in the restoration of Constable Dudding’s tombstone in the Karori Cemetery.
It was 50 years ago this year that Detective Constable Ronald Bernard (Bernie) Hill was killed on May 5, 1969, when the patrol car he was in – transporting a witness home – was struck by on oncoming vehicle driven by an unlicensed and intoxication youth who also died at the scene, near Shannon.
Twenty years ago, Constable Lester Murray Stretch was beaten to death by an offender when he attended reports of a burglary at a store in Mangakino on May 26, 1999.
Ten years ago, Senior Constable Len Snee was fatally wounded on May 7, 2009, while carrying out a routine search warrant in Napier at the home of Jan Molenaar.
Two other officers and a member of the public were also shot and seriously wounded by Molenaar during the stand-off that lasted for 51 hours. Molenaar used an arsenal of weapons, mostly high-powered military-style rifles and shotguns to shoot at police and the public.
The number of officers slain on duty since 1890 is 32.
Read more about Police Remembrance Day.