Positive news at difficult time of year

Posted on April 18, 2016 | Category :Uncategorized | Comments Off

Denis and Gunny

UNTIL 12 years ago Spring was, for me, one of the best seasons of the year – partly because it signals the end of winter and, hopefully, the worst of the weather. But also because it brings new life to both flora and fauna and generally refreshes the countryside.

Back in 2004, however, all that changed when my elder son Richard was killed while on duty with Surrey Police.

Since then, 14 March has always been a sad and difficult day for me, as all Survivors will understand from their own experience.

This year, however, the day was brightened with two pieces of good news.

The first news was a personal matter. I learned that police dog Gunny, named in memory of my son was, that very day, being licensed to work as a police dog with Surrey Police. My concerns that he might fail during his training and not make the grade were all unfounded.

The following day my wife Carol and I, along with Richard’s fiancée Laura, were invited to watch Gunny and his sister Gia perform their passing out display. Both performed exceptionally well and I am just so proud to know that “Gunny” is now working with the force again.

May I take this opportunity publicly to thank Surrey Police for honouring my son in this way for it means so much to me.

It was also the evening of 14 March that the board of the Police Arboretum Memorial Trust (PAMT) met to finalise whether or not names should be permanently displayed on the new police memorial to be built at the National Memorial Arboretum.

I am not ashamed to say that on such an emotional day for me the announcement that names would indeed appear on the memorial overwhelmed me with joy.

On behalf of COPS I want to place on record our sincere thanks for that decision.

I understand, however, that a decision is still to be made regarding exactly which names should appear on the memorial. A committee, which will include some Survivors, will be established to consider this.

COPS’ view is that the names of ALL officers who died on duty should be displayed regardless of the circumstances of their deaths.

Failure to include all names will certainly cause a lot of distress to Survivors so, as I stated in my open letter to the trustees of the PAMT on www.copsnews.co.uk: “Please don’t hurt the families yet again.”

Denis Gunn is National President of Care of Police Survivors.

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