A memorial service is to be held for Metropolitan Police Sergeant Matt Ratana, who was shot dead at a south London custody centre.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick and London Mayor Sadiq Khan will be among those gathering with friends and family at the Royal Military Chapel in Westminster to pay tribute to the New Zealand-born 54-year-old.
He was killed by a handcuffed suspect at a custody suite in Croydon, south London, on September 25 2020.
The event is being held in place of the full force funeral that the Met was unable to hold due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Colleagues from many teams across the Met, including the dog unit, mounted branch, and Croydon borough, will be present inside and outside of the chapel, while officers wearing dress uniform will flank both sides of Horse Guards and Birdcage Walk in the vicinity of the venue.
Dame Cressida will walk with Sgt Ratana’s partner Su Bushby and other specially invited guests from the National Police Memorial on the Mall to the chapel, passing a specially selected Guard of Honour just outside its entrance.
The hour-long service will include a variety of hymns, readings and tributes, along with a Maori hymn sung by New Zealand cultural group Ngati Ranana.
The formal handing over of a hat and gloves to Ms Bushby will also take place inside the chapel.
“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.
“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.
“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.
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