February 20th, 2008


Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I can’ listen to ‘Nimrod’ from Elgar’s Enigma Variations without thinking about dead police officers.

I’ve been to about 10 funerals of friends & colleagues which have been ‘official’ funerals. These are usually reserved for officers who have died on duty. One or two were murdered, a couple had heart attacks & the rest were killed in road traffic incidents.

The pall bearers are usually police colleagues in full uniform. The coffin is draped with the force flag & the officer’s hat sits on top The chief is usually there & one of the senior officers usually speaks of the life & career of the fallen officer.

Nimrod is such a moving evocative piece of music. Even heard in isolation it sends a tingle up my spine. Played at a funeral it can’t help but bring a lump to the throat.

There is something surreal about watching a coffin making its way up the aisle towards the altar & all the family & friends. It’s a bit like watching a ship traverse the Suez Canal, you can see it moving but you can’t see how.

I spoke at the funeral of a colleague a while back. It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. He had a wife & teenage kids, they wept during my words which only made it harder to continue. It’s far easier facing an angry crowd of bottle-throwing thugs than standing in a church next to a dead colleague in a box.

I’m in two minds about police funerals. Whilst the grief from friends & colleagues is genuine I can’t help thinking about the falseness of a senior police officer – who wouldn’t have known the officer if he’d jumped out of the chief’s porridge – telling everyone what a great job he did & how valued he was.

I think if I die on duty I’ll get my wife to ban senior officers.

It’s be pretty cool to have my cap on the coffin, & maybe the force flag if only to cover the biodegradeable wicker coffin, and Elgar’s Enigma variations playing on the organ.

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  1. chairwoman says:

    May I recommend Elgar’s Allegro for Strings. It sounds like an English summer’s Sunday afternoon in the country, and is as moving as ‘Nimrod’. The late Chairman’s coffin was brought in to it, but we left to Ray Charles.

    February 20th, 2008 at 16:30

  2. james says:

    Couldnt agree more. What is it about senior officers. They take the credit for everything the workers do, yet know nothing about us.

    February 20th, 2008 at 20:49

  3. Benj says:

    I said to my husband many years ago, that if I die on duty, I will come back and haunt him if he lets a senior officer anywhere near my funeral.
    I dont want those platitudes by someone who barely knew me. The senior officers I have Pi$$ed off over the years can mumble something, but thats it.
    The ones I want to speak up are the ones I dropped in the cacky with, or the ones who stood beside me at a 3am winter Fatac, the ones who brought me a coke and a packet of smarties after 5 hours outside a rape scene, the ones who know how to wind me up, and I know how to wind them up too.

    The ones I would walk through fire for, and they would for me.

    Thems buggers !!!!

    They are the ones that know me.

    February 20th, 2008 at 21:56

  4. Benj says:

    And the music……….thank you for the days, Kirsty McCall.

    February 20th, 2008 at 22:07

  5. tim says:

    Useless info – bearer party wears white cotton gloves (in the 80′s issued to Insp and above) because PC’s white nylon gloves has a risk of slipping and dropping the coffin.

    Been to two – first a Police Staff and Special, who had heart attack at 29, but the sight of beat duty helmet on coffin ripped us all up who knew him as as Police Staff. Second, Police Staff made good from an awful family (would have nicked the brass plates if someone wasn’t watching them) – Police was her life and where all her friends were – not allowed Force Flag present (Division made up for it with everything but, motorcycle escort, bearer party etc.. and the Chief Supt).

    February 23rd, 2008 at 01:02

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