A memorial service has been held for Sergeant Matt Ratana, who was shot on duty last year (Picture: PA)
Hundreds of police officers have lined the streets of London in a solemn tribute to their colleague, Sergeant Matt Ratana, who was shot dead last year.
A memorial service was held in Westminster for the officer who was killed while on duty at a custody suite in Croydon in September 2020.
Colleagues lined Horse Guards Road and Birdcage Walk ahead of the event at the Royal Military Chapel on Monday.
Su Bushby, the partner of the New Zealand-born 54-year-old, walked into the service alongside Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, home secretary Priti Patel and London’s mayor Sadiq Khan.
Hundreds of police officers lined the streets (Picture: PA)
Sgt Ratana was shot dead while on duty (Picture: Reuters)
(Left to right) Home Secretary Priti Patel, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick and Assistant Commissioner Matt Jukes with Sgt Ratana’s partner Su Bushby arriving at the service (Picture: PA)
The memorial was held because a full police funeral wasn’t possible under Covid regulations (Picture: PA)
They were introduced to police dogs named after Sgt Ratana (Picture: PA)
They were greeted by a group of trainee police puppies that were named the Ratana litter in tribute to the sergeant.
Among the puppies were Matiu and Whanau, named after the Maori word for family and Sgt Ratana’s full first name.
Ms Bushby was hugged by each member of the clergy leading the memorial service before heading into the chapel.
Officers dressed in full black ceremonial uniform – including helmets and white gloves – gathered outside the chapel before heading into Wellington Barracks.
One of the dogs seemed very keen to meet Priti Patel (Picture: Getty Images Europe)
Police wore ceremonial uniforms for the event (Picture: PA)
The service took place because the Met were unable to hold a full force funeral last year due to Covid-19 restrictions in place at the time.
It began with the congregation singing the hymn Praise Him, Praise Him while attendees were also expected to hear a Maori hymn sung by New Zealand cultural group Ngati Ranana.
‘When Matt was sadly taken away from us, Covid-19 meant we weren’t able to mark his death with a force funeral in the way that we would have wished to afterwards,’ Dame Cressida said before the service got under way.
‘We promised at the time that when restrictions weren’t in place we would arrange a special memorial service that would allow us all to come together in Matt’s memory, and I am delighted that today, we can finally honour that promise by gathering to pay him tribute.
New Zealand born Matt Ratana was a keen rugby fan (Picture: PA)
Su Bushby met a police dog unit named after her partner (Picture: PA)
‘Matt has very much been in our thoughts over the last year, both as we grieved for him, but also as we planned for this very special day where we will remember and give thanks for his life.
‘There will be sadness and reflection of course, but also celebration and much joy, for all the many lives he touched and the positivity and dedication with which he served.
‘As with all our fallen colleagues, we will never forget Matt and we will continue to honour his legacy, which will live on through his family, his many friends and colleagues in the Met, in his rugby foundation and beyond.’
Louis De Zoysa, 24, has been charged with Sgt Ratana’s murder.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].
For more stories like this, check our news page.