Police Roll of Honour - Lest We Forget

Remembering British Police Officers who Lost their Lives in the Line of Duty

Police Roll of Honour

Home | About | Roll of Honour | Memorial | National Roll | Force Rolls

National Police Officers Roll of Honour and Remembrance

In Memory of British Police Officers who Lost their Lives in the Line of Duty

Book of Remembrance

CRITERIA

and explanatory notes


(Click here to view the Criteria Summary)


CRITERIA

for inclusion on the

NATIONAL POLICE OFFICERS ROLL OF HONOUR AND REMEMBRANCE

In memory of British police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty as a result of

criminal acts, misadventure or accident, enemy action, natural causes and unknown causes.


HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The National Police Officers Roll of Honour and Remembrance is an ongoing historical record of all British police officers, including those in service with Colonial or UK administered Forces overseas, who lost their lives in the line of duty, since the earliest days of professional law enforcement over three centuries ago.

Whilst the modern police service may rightly be seen as emanating from Robert Peel’s Metropolitan Police in 1829, it did not start there. The office of constable is an ancient one and for several centuries was a duty carried out by ordinary citizens as locally appointed but unpaid Parish Constables, gradually supplemented by various other peace officers.

The first professional law enforcement officers followed the English Civil War and restoration of the Monarchy in the reign of Charles II (1660-85) with the formation of a paid Night-Watch. The Watchmen or “Charlies” were often much maligned, but many paid the ultimate price while carrying out their duties. The mid 18th century saw the Bow Street Patrol (known as ‘Runners’) formed in London and in 1792 the first statutory salaried Constables were attached by Act of Parliament to Police Offices throughout London.

Following this Parliament began to pass local Acts, notably the Glasgow Police Act of 1800, allowing local authorities to begin employing full time constables. Sir Robert Peel actually began his police reforms in Ireland, which joined the United Kingdom in 1801, with the formation of the Peace Preservation Force in 1814 and the Irish County Constabulary in 1822. In 1829 his formation of the Metropolitan Police saw the start of modern policing in England and Wales.

How many of the earlier peace officers died in the execution of their duty is uncertain but the first recorded death on duty, in the “Proceedings of the Old Bailey”, dates from 1680 with the unlawful killing of a Constable whose name was not recorded – the unknown constable. The Roll of Honour archive records details of each officer's name, age, rank and force, date, place and circumstances of death, and any posthumous honours or bravery awards; also recorded where available is their service history, personal and family details and photographs of the officer and any memorials.

In considering these criteria reference has been made to police pension regulations, coroner's courts rules, and existing UK and foreign police rolls of honour. Each case will normally require two independent sources of information for verification, except in the case of official police records where one source may suffice. Each case will be treated individually and on its own merits and will not be accepted onto the Roll unless these criteria are satisfied. However, while maintaining the overall principle that the death should have occurred in the line of duty, the Roll aims to be inclusive rather than exclusive. Where there is doubt about an officer's eligibility, for the sake of the officer's family and force, the benefit of that doubt will generally go towards their inclusion.


When considering names for inclusion on the Roll the following criteria will apply:

DEFINITIONS

 

‘NATIONAL’ & ‘BRITISH’

Of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the British Islands. Namely: -

The countries of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (Ireland prior to independence in 1922), and the British Crown Dependencies of the Isle of Man and the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey.

 

'POLICE OFFICERS'

Any sworn constable or other member of a police force or police authority or other peace officer engaged in a law enforcement role. Namely:-

  1. Any sworn constable i.e. a person holding the 'Office of Constable' (regardless of rank), including a trainee or student constable undergoing training;
  2. Any regular or auxiliary officer serving as a member of a police force or service (including the former Police Fire Brigades), whether on a full or part-time, professional or voluntary basis;
  3. Retired officers whose injuries were received on or as a result of their police service;
  4. Un-sworn police staff members, e.g. explosives officers, community support officers, traffic wardens, police cadets, etc., providing they die in operational circumstances (i.e. in the performance of a law enforcement role, including patrol duty and training for operational duty);
  5. Peace Officers appointed by local authorities prior to the formation of the modern police service in 1829, charged with enforcing the law e.g. Parish Constables, Watchmen, Bow Street Patrol.

‘ROLL OF HONOUR AND REMEMBRANCE’

 The Roll comprises two sections:

    A.  Roll of Honour - officers killed, or who died of injuries received, in the execution of their duties; and

    B.  In Remembrance - those who have otherwise died, on or in connection with their duties.

 

'BRITISH POLICE OFFICERS'

Police officers serving in the current and former police forces of: -

  1. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and British Islands, including officers of UK police forces temporarily seconded abroad;
  2. Ireland prior to the independence of Southern Ireland from the UK in June 1922; and
  3. British Citizens serving overseas as police officers in the former Colonial Police Services; namely: - Police Forces of the former British Empire, comprising the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates, and other overseas territories, whilst ruled or administered by the United Kingdom.

'WHO LOST THEIR LIVES'

Killed or died as a direct or proximate result of personal injuries received, including duty related illness or disease, which caused or substantially contributed to the death.

 

Death from an illness or disease may be deemed to be the result of an injury on duty if arising from:

    1.   An act of violence (e.g. heart failure or brain haemorrhage during an assault or violent arrest);

    2.   Other physical cause (e.g. heart failure from exertion of chasing suspects or dealing with public order);

    3.   Contracted in the course of duty or resulting from the performance of police duties.

 

'IN THE LINE OF DUTY'

In connection with Police Duty: - i.e. whilst on duty, in the execution of duty, or as a result of duty, or otherwise in connection with duty, both of an operational or non-operational nature.

 

Police Duty - The primary duties of police officers are the:

  • Protection of life and property
  • Preservation of public order (The Queen's Peace)
  • Prevention and detection of criminal offences.

On Duty

During a tour of duty and comprising all normal lawful actions carried out as part of a police officer's duty, whether the duty is of an operational or non-operational nature.

In the Execution of Duty
As a direct result of their performance of operational duties, including while off duty: -

  • Where an officer, or former officer, is unlawfully killed in consequence of their current or former occupation or status as a police officer; e.g. in a revenge or terrorist attack.
  • Circumstances where an off duty officer may be expected, or obliged by law, police regulations or common practice, or of their own initiative, to place themselves on, and act in the performance of, duty.

Circumstances of a death ‘in the execution of duty’ should be directly related to police duty and not incidental to them - had they not been a police officer would they have died when and in the manner they did?

As a Result of Duty may include:

    1.   Death occurring some time after the event from the effects of an injury or illness sustained on duty;

    2.   While off duty but on account of being a police officer (e.g. a revenge or terrorist attack);

    3.   An injury received after retirement but on account of previous status as a police officer;

    (2 & 3 - Injury would not have been received had they not been known to have been a police officer).

Otherwise in Connection with Duty
Deaths occurring otherwise than in the Execution of Duty, namely: -

  • From injuries received on non-operational duty; or
  • Travelling to or from duty, outside of a tour of duty, for which no payment is made.
  • From sudden death or natural causes on duty, not attributable to the execution of duty.
  • From enemy action while off duty or where duty status is unknown.
  • Whilst on a temporary residential training course or operation or secondment out of the force area.
  • Whilst serving in UK administered forces overseas, including when off duty or duty status is unknown.
  • Actions undertaken by choice not subject to an obligation of duty e.g. sports or fitness activities.
  • From unknown or other causes on duty where the full circumstances are unknown.

Operational Duty

In the performance of an operational law enforcement role, i.e. police duty which brings an officer into contact with the general public or suspects, or the investigation of suspicious circumstances or other circumstances of a hazardous nature, including patrol duty and physical training for an operational role. The role being defined by the actual duty performed at the time rather than the officer’s usual role.

 

Non Operational Duty

    1.   Other duties such as administration, clerical or similar duties carried out on police or other premises, which does not entail contact with the public or suspects, or other hazardous circumstances.

    2.   Travelling to or from duty, outside of a tour of duty, for which no payment is made.

 

Exclusions - In the line of duty does not include:

    1.   Deaths resulting from an officer's own serious and culpable gross negligence or misconduct.

    2.   Suicide - where an inquest found that a person took their own life will not be included except:-
Where death is a direct result of and substantially contributed to by an injury on duty; e.g. where the death was caused by insanity or other mental illness or severe depression resulting from the effects of an injury on duty. Where such cases are included they may be classified in relation to the original injury.

 

While maintaining the overall principle that death should have occurred in the line of duty, the Roll aims to be inclusive rather than exclusive. When there is doubt about an officer's eligibility, the benefit of the doubt will generally go towards inclusion.

 


To assist in the analysis of fatalities, and for the purposes of police forces and organisations in the  compiling of specific Rolls with differing criteria, the Causes of Death may be Classified, as follows.


CLASSIFICATION

 

CRIMINAL ACTS: Injury attributable to criminal acts of violence;

MISADVENTURE: Accidental injury attributable to intended acts in the performance of operational duty;

ACCIDENT: Accidental injury attributable to unforeseen and unintended acts or circumstances;

ENEMY ACTION: Injury in consequence of wartime  enemy air raids and attacks;

NATURAL CAUSES: Collapse, illness or disease attributable to the performance of operational duty;

UNKNOWN CAUSES: The exact cause, circumstances and/or duty status are unknown;

TRAVELLING: Accidental injury sustained while travelling to or from duty;

SUDDEN DEATH: Death on duty from natural causes where there is no known contributory cause.

ON SECONDMENT OR SERVICE OVERSEAS: Death from any means not falling within other criteria.

These are detailed within the two main sections of the Roll of Honour and Remembrance:

A. ROLL OF HONOUR

Honouring police officers who have been killed, or died as a result of injuries received, in consequence of the execution of their duties, namely:

    1.   As a direct result of the performance of operational duty, or
    2.   In consequence of their occupation or status as a police officer.

The Roll of Honour pays special tribute to those killed in the course of operational duties or due to their status as police officers e.g. through terrorist attacks. 

 

1. CRIMINAL ACTS: Injury attributable to criminal acts of violence: -

 

a) Unlawful Killing - Homicide offences i.e. murder/manslaughter/culpable homicide.

Deaths reported as criminal offences of homicide, where there was a charge or inquest verdict of unlawful killing, i.e. Murder or Manslaughter (Culpable Homicide in Scotland). Including where suspects were acquitted or not proceeded against due to insufficient evidence to substantiate their involvement in a homicide offence.

 

b) Political Violence - Homicide offences resulting from insurrection or terrorist activity. e.g.:-

  • The Irish War of Independence 1919-1922.
  • Nationalist and Loyalist terrorist activity in Northern Ireland.
  • International terrorist activity in Great Britain.
  • Insurrections and terrorism in former UK administered territories overseas.

c) Act of Violence - Homicide not amounting at the time to unlawful killing.

Death attributable to an assault or other act of violence, not amounting at the time to unlawful killing e.g.:-

    1.   Where death occurred over a year and a day after the fatal injury was inflicted (prior to 1996);

    2.   Where the cause of death was the result of an injury attributable to a crime of violence, or such an injury contributed to the cause of death, but a homicide offence was not substantiated due to insufficient evidence as to the exact cause of death or the criminal intent of the suspect.

    3.   Where a suspect was charged with a homicide offence but no evidence was offered and charges withdrawn or they were acquitted on the grounds of accident or self defence, or other grounds, where there was insufficient evidence to substantiate a homicide offence.

 

d) Dangerous Driving - When struck by a vehicle which deliberately fails to stop for police.

Offences of causing death by dangerous or reckless driving or driving while unfit through drink or drugs, where an officer, either on foot or in a police vehicle, is attempting to stop the offending vehicle, the driver of which deliberately fails to stop and the officer or his vehicle is struck by the offending vehicle.

 

(For all above criminal acts, the result of any legal/criminal proceedings will be recorded and may be published but names and personal details of suspects and offenders will not generally be included.)

 

2. MISADVENTURE: - Accidental injury attributable to intended acts in the performance of an operational duty -

 

a) Dangerous Duty - In the performance of hazardous duty or acts of gallantry where there is a known special risk of danger: -

 

i) In the Course of Effecting an Arrest

The injury was received in the course of duties performed for the immediate purpose of effecting an arrest or of preventing an escape or rescue from legal custody in hazardous circumstances; e.g.:-

  • Falls while arresting or chasing suspects on or across rooftops or other high structures. 
  • Struck by a vehicle/train arresting or chasing suspects by foot on or across a road or railway line.
  • Drowned arresting or chasing suspects in or across rivers or other deep water.

ii) In the Performance of Acts of Gallantry

The injury was received in the course of duties performed for the immediate purpose of saving the life of another person or of preventing loss of life in hazardous circumstances; e.g.

  • Attempting rescues from fires or drowning.
  • Protecting members of the public from runaway horses or vehicles.
  • Where a Sovereign's decoration for bravery has been bestowed.
  • Where any other award for bravery has been granted by a recognised national body.
  • Other courageous conduct or equivalent acts.

iii) Other Hazardous Duty

The injury was otherwise received in the course of duties performed in such circumstances of danger as involved the officer in taking an exceptional risk, including duties which by their nature are inherently dangerous and where risk is enhanced by a dangerous location or adverse weather conditions. e.g.

  • Fighting fires.
  • Searching for suspects on rooftops, railways and other dangerous areas.
  • Mountain search and rescue.
  • Underwater search operations.
  • Stopping suspicious or speeding vehicles on foot.
  • Road blocks and vehicle check points.
  • Dealing with, or protecting the scene of, accidents or breakdowns on motorways or dangerous roads.

Otherwise where an officer is acting in the protection of persons or property beyond a normal obligation of duty, despite a known risk to the officer's own personal safety.

(The above may be appropriate to pay special tribute to officers killed unlawfully or in the course of acts of gallantry, effecting arrests or other dangerous duties, on a Roll of Honour or inscribed memorial. It generally equates to the conditions in Police Pension Regulations relating to granting of a Widow’s Augmented Award. It is similar to that used by the Metropolitan Police for their Roll of Honour at New Scotland Yard, and in 2005 was adopted by the Police Memorial Trust for the Roll of Honour at the National Police Memorial in London.)

b) Operational Duty - In the performance of other duties of a hazardous nature;

including where risk is enhanced at the time by a dangerous location or adverse weather conditions; e.g.

  • Responding to emergency calls.
  • Vehicle pursuits.
  • Traffic stops.
  • Regulating traffic.
  • Investigation of suspicious circumstances or premises.
  • River, Helicopter, or other patrol in hazardous conditions.
  • Underwater search training.

3. ACCIDENT: Accidental injury attributable to unforeseen and unintended acts or circumstances sustained in the course of Operational Duty; e.g.

  • Road traffic accidents on mobile patrol.
  • Road accidents or falls while on foot patrol.
  • Dangerous Driving - due to road traffic collisions (not officer's actions) while on routine patrol.
  • Other accidents on operational duty.
  • During operational training and compulsory physical training (which may include police related First Aid or Lifesaving activities but not voluntary sports or social activities, band practice etc.).

4. ENEMY ACTION: Injury in consequence of wartime enemy air raids and attacks while on duty.

 

Deaths resulting from injury on duty or in the execution of duty from enemy action during or following enemy air raids, resulting from enemy attacks, bombing or its consequences.

(Deaths performing dangerous duties, fighting fires, rescue's etc may be classified as Misadventure).

 

5. NATURAL CAUSES - Duty Related: Collapse, illness or disease attributable to the execution of an operational duty.

 

Sudden death of natural causes and deaths from illness or disease where performance of operational duty may have contributed to the death; e.g. a collapse or heart attack brought on by physical exertion through:

  • The arrest of suspect or prevention of offence.
  • The protection of life or property.
  • The preservation of public order.
  • Compulsory physical training.

(Deaths from illness or disease directly relating to an act of violence, misadventure or accident on operational duty and in close proximity to it may be shown under those classifications.)

 

6. UNKNOWN CAUSES: Death on operational duty but exact cause or circumstances are unknown.

 

Where the evidence does not fully disclose how the cause of death arose; i.e. the death was officially recorded as an accident on operational duty, or is suspected as being attributable to a criminal act of violence, e.g. an officer found drowned or fatally injured in suspicious circumstances, but the exact cause or circumstances are unknown, or an inquest results in an 'open' verdict being returned.

 

(All above may be appropriate for officers killed in the execution of operational duty where names are to be carved on a physical memorial. This is the original criteria for the National Police Officers Roll of Honour and similar to those used for many UK police service Rolls of Honour and national memorials.)


B. IN REMEMBRANCE

Remembering police officers who have otherwise died, namely:

    1.   On or in connection with duty, other than in the execution of an operational duty, or
    2.   Whilst serving overseas, when off duty or duty status is unknown.

Through Remembrance we also commemorate those officers who have otherwise died on or in connection with their duty in other ways:

7. ACCIDENT – Not Operational: Accidental injury sustained on non-operational duty.

This will include accidents, by any means, which are not directly related to the performance of operational duties; such as injury whilst on duty in police stations or other premises, e.g. a fall down stairs in a police station; or actions undertaken by choice not subject to an obligation of duty e.g. sports or fitness activities.

8. TRAVELLING: Accidental injury sustained while travelling to and from duty.

 

Since 1921, police pension regulations have equated being on a journey necessary to enable an officer to report for duty or to return home after duty with being on duty. For much of the 19th and 20th century, officers were obliged to live within their force area and wear full uniform when travelling to and from duty and were visibly available to assist the public as police officers. While modern practices and transport usually mean travelling officers are less visible, up to 2010 regulations have retained the ‘on duty’ status while travelling. The journey should be direct, immediately before or after duty to qualify under this class.  Officers on a split tour of duty, or recalled to duty for a special purpose, are effectively on duty as soon as they leave home during their tour or when called out and such cases may be classed as actually on duty rather than travelling; e.g. turning out to an incident, or reporting for duty during an enemy air raid.

 

9. ENEMY ACTION - Off Duty: Injury in consequence of enemy air raids or attacks while off duty or duty status unknown.

Data sources for deaths by enemy action include Force War Rolls and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Civilian War Dead Roll. The latter includes occupations of those involved in Civil Defence work but does not indicate whether they were on or off duty at the time of their deaths, and it has not been possible to ascertain the duty status of many officers killed in wartime. During enemy air raids it was common, if not required, for off duty police officers to report for duty or to assist locally with Civil Defence work, thereby placing themselves on duty, and those identified as such are contained in the Roll of Honour section. It is known that a number of police officers lost their lives in such circumstances but impossible to know how many; for this reason all officers who are known to have been off duty or who have not been identified as on duty may be listed, as an unknown number may have also died in such circumstances.

10. NATURAL CAUSES - Sudden Death: Collapse, illness, death on duty of natural causes where there is no known contributory cause.

 

Sudden death occurring on duty or where the officer is immediately hospitalised following onset of sudden illness or collapse on duty and fails to recover, remaining under medical care until their subsequent death.

 

11. UNKNOWN CAUSES - Non Operational: On duty but exact cause, circumstances and duty status are unknown.

 

Where the evidence does not fully disclose how the cause of death arose i.e. the death was officially recorded as on duty, but the exact cause, circumstances or duty status are unknown.

 

12. ON SECONDMENT OR SERVICE OVERSEAS: Cause of death not falling within other criteria.

Officers temporarily engaged on duties away from their usual place of work and obliged to reside away from home, including residential training courses or secondments out of the force area, and those serving with UK administered police forces overseas, who do not come within other criteria, may be treated as being otherwise in connection with duty during the entire period of secondment or service.

Deaths by any means will be considered, including unknown causes, natural causes, or while off duty or where duty status is unknown. This is particularly relevant to those officers who died serving overseas and were buried in the country of service.


(All classifications may be appropriate for a fully inclusive Roll or Book of Remembrance in memory of all who have lost their lives by any means in connection with their duties. All are used for the National Police Officers Roll of Honour and Remembrance. This criteria was adopted by the National Police Memorial Day Trust in 2004.)


 

MISCELLANEOUS NOTES

 

BRITISH COLONIAL AND OVERSEAS TERRITORIES POLICE

British police officers, who died while serving abroad in current and former British Administered Colonies, Protectorates, Mandated Territories, and other British Overseas Territories, will be included on the National Roll as and when information on these casualties is discovered or brought to our attention.

Those remembered will include all United Kingdom police officers but may not include other nationalities whom it is hoped will be remembered in their own native country.

This will include, among others, police forces in the following areas whilst under British Administration:

Africa, Cyprus, Hong Kong, India, Malaya, Palestine, Shanghai.


 

UNCONFIRMED CASES

Deaths in service but not confirmed as being in the line of duty - such cases are recorded pending further information.

 

In circumstances where an officer died of unnatural causes while serving and death may have occurred in the line of duty but the facts are unconfirmed. This may be due to the date of death or name of the deceased being unknown, or lack of corroboration of a reported death, or it is not known if it occurred on or as a result of duty. While not included on the Roll details will be recorded pending more information and subject where possible to further research.

 


 

SUICIDE

Cases of suicide where an inquest found that a person took their own life will not be included except:-

Where the death is a direct result of and substantially contributed to by an injury on duty; e.g.

Where the death was caused by insanity or other mental illness or severe depression resulting from the effects of an injury on duty. Where such cases are included they may be classified in relation to the original injury.

 


 

MILITARY DEATHS

Details of deaths on wartime military service will be collated, if received, but at this time do not form part of the National Police Officers Roll of Honour. Generally details are already accessible on military memorials and Rolls of Honour.

 


(Click here to view the Criteria Summary)


Contact Us

Page updated 24 November 2014

National Police Officers Roll of Honour Copyright © Anthony Rae 1985-2014

Return to Top of Page