The names of the four Southern-based police officers slain on
duty were among those remembered yesterday, Police
Remembrance Day, when services were held across New Zealand,
Australia and the southwest Pacific.
At the Dunedin service, Inspector Alastair Dickie read the 29
names on the New Zealand Police roll of honour, which
remembers police and traffic officers killed on duty since
1886. Those include:
• Constable Donald Richard Stokes (23), who died on August
15, 1966, after being beaten by escaping prisoners in the
Dunedin police station cells.
• Constable Peter William Murphy (21), who was shot when
attending a break-in at an Invercargill sports shop on
September 25, 1976.
• Senior Constable Peter Morris Umbers (35), who was bashed
with his own baton when stopping Richard Thomas Lakich near
Ranfurly, Central Otago, on May 27, 1990.
Snr Const Umbers was awarded the posthumous George Medal for
• Sergeant Stewart Graeme Guthrie (41) died at Aramoana on
November 13, 1990, after being shot by David Malcolm Gray,
who shot dead 12 other people. Sgt Guthrie was awarded the
posthumous George Medal for bravery.
Inspector Greg Sparrow said the police community was
relatively small but close knit, with many officers knowing
of a fallen officer.
Policing was a rewarding career but ''on a more sombre note
it can bring us into conflict situations, and it is something
we cannot and do not shy away from because we are charged
with working in partnership with our community, but also
The dozens of officers gathered at the Dunedin Central Police
Station observed a minute's silence.
Former officers who died in the past year were also
In Alexandra, about 30 people attended the Central Otago
Central Otago police sub-area supervisor Senior Sergeant Ian
Kerrisk said staff and volunteers from police ''partner
agencies'', such as St John, court staff and the probation
service were invited to the service, along with police family
members. At a service in Porirua, Police Minister Anne Tolley
paid tribute to the officers who died in the course of their
duties, and to serving and former police staff who died in
the past year.
''It is a very emotional day which rekindles very powerful
memories, and also serves as a reminder that the men and
women in our police service are constantly putting their
lives on the line to keep communities safe.''
- Additional reporting APNZ