Paul McKeever sadly lost his life just short of retiring from the police. As our Federation Chairman Paul worked tirelessly to protect police officers across the country. He believed in the traditions of the service, integrity, fairness and the unique place the office of constable holds in our communities. The fact that he was not able to enjoy his well earned retirement with his family, friends and his dog is perhaps the cruelest blow he has taken.
On hearing the news of his death I put the hashtag #StandforPaul onto Twitter. The hope was, subject to family agreement, that I would try to rally as many officers as possible to line the route to his funeral as a mark of respect. Paul stood for us. It was only fitting that we therefore stood for him one last time.
As you will now know the family have requested a private funeral and a memorial service is being held on Feb 9th at Southwark Cathedral. Those wishes have to be respected.
The Federation at Leatherhead have been coordinating the memorial service and invited people to contact them direct if they wished to attend. As a memorial service any requirement to stand as Paul’s cortege passed was negated. I made investigations into whether officers could congregate at the cathedral if only in a way that numbers show strength of feeling. I’m not a Londoner but I’m told space around the cathedral is limited and this is a very busy area on a Saturday. As such this suggestion had problems.
If you have contacted the Federation about attending the memorial service then they will no doubt be in touch in due course.
However, #StandforPaul can still have a role. Tomorrow morning, Friday 8th February, our colleague and friend Paul will be laid to rest at a private service. You have the opportunity to #StandforPaul where you are. I encourage you to take 2 hours twitter silence between 9am and 11am. If you have a flag at your station or HQ encourage them to lower it to half mast. Take time to reflect on how fragile we all are and how every day should be lived like it’s your last. Take time to remember a true gentleman who held on tightly to the traditions and values of our fine police service. He stood for you. It’s now your time to stand for him.
#StandforPaul 0900-1100hrs Friday 8th February 2013