Shauni James is a Rotorua Daily Post reporter

Tears shed as fallen police remembered (+video)

Tears were shed and memories shared as Bay of Plenty police gathered to commemorate fellow officers who lost their lives in service.

Today is Police Remembrance Day, which pays tribute to officers who have died as a result of criminal acts while on duty, as well as current and former staff who have died in the past year.

At a ceremony at the Rotorua Lakes Council building today, the photographs and names were shown of the 32 New Zealand officers who have been killed in the line of duty since the New Zealand Police force was established in 1886.

That included five Bay of Plenty officers.

Senior Sergeant Nicky Riordan and Sergeant Brigitte Cairns also read out the names of serving and former staff from the Bay of Plenty District who have died in the past 12 months.

Sergeant Pauline Jones and Detective Sergeant Mark Van Kempen read the names of former staff in New Zealand who died as a result of an accident or illness sustained during the course of their duties.

Area commander Inspector Bruce Horne lights a candle at the ceremony. Photo/Ben Fraser
Area commander Inspector Bruce Horne lights a candle at the ceremony. Photo/Ben Fraser


As part of the service, a minute's silence took place and those who gathered had the opportunity to light a candle for the lives lost.

Those who attended included uniformed police officers and family members of those who have died, with tears shed during the presentation.

Rotorua police area commander Inspector Bruce Horne said every day police officers were helping people deal with what was often the worst crises and moments in their lives.

He said there were risks that went with that, and a cost was unfortunately sometimes the life of a police officer, so "it's important to remember them".

Detective Sergeant Mark van Kempen and Sergeant Pauline Jones read the name of police staff who died as a result of accident or illness during the course of their duties. Photo/Ben Fraser
Detective Sergeant Mark van Kempen and Sergeant Pauline Jones read the name of police staff who died as a result of accident or illness during the course of their duties. Photo/Ben Fraser


"Just as important, if not more important, is remembering the families of those officers that have given their lives, and that really is the reason for Rememberance Day."

Mr Horne said the day provided the opportunity for families to be with others and was a way for police to say to those familes that they had not been forgotten.

He said a lot of retired and past officers had attended to remember their colleagues.

Bay of Plenty Police remembered:
pf■enTraffic officer John Kehoe. Died January 31 1949. Aged 24. Shot dead near Whakatane after stopping a speeding vehicle.
pf■enConstable Louis Hekenui Bidois. Died May 24 1955. Aged 56. Attacked and beaten while trying to control two offenders at Te Whaiti on May 7 1949. Sustained severe brain damage and died six years later.
pf■enSergeant Gilbert Peter Arcus. Died February 4 1970. Aged 44. Fell while attempting to take a person into custody and later died in Tauranga Hospital.
pf■enTraffic officer Robin Jamieson Dudding. Died April 7 1986. Aged 44. Kidnapped at Lake Rotoiti and later shot dead near Rotorua.
pf■enConstable Lester Murray Stretch. Died May 26 1999. Aged 38. Fatally injured at Mangakino while attempting to arrest a suspected burglar

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