WILTSHIRE Police’s Chief Constable is backing a national campaign to recognise police officers and staff who have died in the line of duty.

The campaign has been launched today (Thursday, May 18), to help raise funds to build a new UK Police Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) in Staffordshire.

Chief Constable Mike Veale said: “I am constantly amazed by the courage and commitment shown by police colleagues here in Wiltshire Police and across the police service as a whole.

“These brave men and women are often described as those who run towards danger when others run away; this is an entirely accurate description.

“Each and every day officers put on their uniform and go out to keep their communities safe with courage, commitment and the highest levels of professionalism.

“They never know what they might face and yet they carry out their duty, serving the public with unfaltering pride and dedication.

“Fortunately for most officers they are able to return safely to their families at the end of a shift, sadly though, there are some who never see their loved ones again.

“It is right that we remember those who given their lives in the line of duty and the UK Police Memorial is a terrific project to honour them.

“Here in the communities of Swindon and Wiltshire we receive fantastic support from the public, which fills my colleagues and I with immense pride and gratitude.

“I fully support this memorial which will be a lasting symbol of the bravery of our colleagues and their sacrifice and would encourage anybody who wishes to help with the fundraising effort to donate to this wonderful cause.”

The memorial will be inscribed with the names of more than 1,400 police officers and staff who have died from injuries they sustained whilst carrying out their duties.

It will be the first memorial in the world to merge a physical and digital presence, which will tell the story of policing and those behind the badge who have paid with their lives.

The chairman of the UK Police Memorial Trust, Sir Hugh Orde, said: “The NMA is the place where the nation can go to remember our services and the men and women who have been killed in the course of their duty for their country.

“We need to establish a fitting memorial that recognises the vital contribution that policing makes to our society and acknowledges the courage and sacrifice made by police officers and police staff who have paid the ultimate price. That tribute must become part of the fabric of our national life.”

To make a donation or get involved in fundraising go to ukpolicememorial.org.