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Does It Matter?

I’ve just been to David Rathband’s Memorial Service in St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle. David was, as you know, the policeman who hanged himself last week nearly two years after being blinded by gunshots from a crazy coward, then bravely created and energised a charity to support those, like himself, who are disabled while in service on our behalf.

I am examining my motive for attending. Was it selfish? Was it altruistic? Did I expect to get something out of it? I’m still not sure; maybe a bit of all three. What I did want was to be counted. To be counted as caring, appreciating and respecting what policemen, in general, do for us in this country. How often do we get that opportunity? One of the speakers told of her meeting with David, but it was at an horrific RTA. Most of our meetings with police officers are at extreme moments; either the perpetrator or the victim of a crime, a traffic violation, a crowd control stramash at a football match or a rock festival. We don’t get many quiet moments to consider just what they do for us, day in day out. I’m thinking that the police force must have the poorest PR advisors around. Anyway, having worked in places like Gadaffi’s Libya, I jumped at the chance to be counted today; not just for David, in particular, and his worthy Blue Lamp charity, but for all his colleagues.

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