Po­lice Re­mem­brance Day for first time ex­tended to in­clude traf­fic of­fi­cers

Otago Daily Times - - Dunedin - MAR­GOT TAY­LOR

DUNEDIN po­lice of­fi­cers showed their vul­ner­a­ble side at a ser­vice in First Church in Dunedin yes­ter­day.

The ser­vice — re­peated through­out New Zealand and Aus­tralia yes­ter­day — hon­oured po­lice staff who have died as a re­sult of their du­ties as well as serv­ing, re­tired and for­mer po­lice staff who have died in the past 12 months.

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

Packed pews in First Church fell silent as south­ern dis­trict com­man­der Su­per­in­ten­dent Paul Basham and other dig­ni­taries were piped in.

Among those watch­ing the for­mal ser­vice were friends and fam­ily of po­lice of­fi­cers who had died in the past year.

In a un­usual move, Judge Michael Cros­bie of Dunedin, spoke at the ser­vice.

Po­lice played an ‘‘in­te­gral’’ role in help­ing some peo­ple from end­ing up in court, he said.

‘‘The ju­di­ciary share the priv­i­lege and bur­den with the po­lice of up­hold­ing the rule of law.’’

Many of­fi­cers at the ser­vice were wear­ing huia feather pins to rep­re­sent the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice made by fallen of­fi­cers.

Supt Basham said while ev­ery po­lice of­fi­cer strived to pro­tect the public, it was cru­cial they looked af­ter them­selves and each other in the line of duty.

It was ‘‘an ab­so­lute tragedy’’ when an of­fi­cer did not re­turn home safe, he said.

He was ‘‘de­lighted’’ with how the ser­vice went, say­ing ‘it was a proud mo­ment for me as dis­trict com­man­der to join my staff and stop and re­flect on the sac­ri­fice of our col­leagues up and down the coun­try over the past 100 years.’’

The ser­vice in­cluded sev­eral hymns and a wa­iata was per­for­ med by Otago Girls’ and Otago Boys’ High School pupils.

The deaths of eight traf­fic of­fi­cers were recog­nised for the first time yes­ter­day at the ser­vice at the Royal New Zealand Po­lice Col­lege in Porirua which hon­oured 32 po­lice of­fi­cers and of­fi­cers of the for­mer Min­istry of Trans­port traf­fic safety ser­vice, which merged with po­lice in 1992, who died as a re­sult of crim­i­nal acts.

The ser­vice recog­nised the 48 con­stab­u­lary and non­con­stab­u­lary staff mem­bers who died as a di­rect re­sult of per­form­ing their du­ties, in­clud­ing the eight traf­fic staff, for­mally recog­nised for the first time.

mar­got.tay­lor@odt.co.nz

Re­mem­ber­ing sac­ri­fice . . . South­ern dis­trict po­lice com­man­der Su­per­in­ten­dent Paul Basham speaks dur­ing the re­mem­brance day ser­vice held at First Church in Dunedin yes­ter­day.

PHOTO: GER­ARD O’BRIEN

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