Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Roll of Honour

I heard someone on the local TV news the other evening talking about police officers who have died in the line of duty. It was to do with the death of PC Keith Palmer and the woman interviewed mentioned that 5 police officers have died this year and are entered on the Police Roll of Honour. I was horrified, as I didn't realise the number was that high as I'd heard no media splash.

Intrigued, I  had a look at the Roll of Honour - you can find it here. The key word is 'died', not 'murdered'. Perusing the Roll of Honour shows a police officer is more likely to die in a road accident travelling to or from work, or a heart attack at their desk, than from being murdered. I was somehow under the erroneous impression that the Roll of Honour was reserved for police officers who were killed as a direct consequence of their job, but I was wrong, and it's any death from any cause.

Of the 5 who have died so far this year, one was hit by a car while deploying a stinger to try and stop it, PC Keith Palmer we all know about, two took ill at work and later died and one was accidentally hit by a car on the way to  work. In 2016 two officers died on duty, both from illness. Below is a chart showing 2010 to 2015 from all causes.

Looking back through the years, it's apparent that (unlike in the USA) police officers being murdered on duty in the UK is actually a very rare occurrence and they're far more likely to die from something completely unrelated to their job, unless you make a big leap and assume stress was the underlying cause in the heart attacks.

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