Police defend thanksgiving service for Reserves

A FORMER member of the RUC Reserve has spoken of his disappointment after claiming a church service of thanksgiving made no mention of the police force’s former name.

Alfie Hazley, chairman of the local RUC George Cross Welfare Support Group, told the Leader of his concern when, he said, the RUC was not specifically mentioned at Sunday’s service in St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.

The event was organised by the Chief Constable as a service of thanksgiving for the police reserve, both the RUC GC and the PSNI.

“It was a good service but it’s a sad thing when they can’t even bring themselves to say the words RUC,” said Mr Hazley.

“It’s happened a couple of times before where we’ve gone to a service and the name RUC has been left out. It’s as if we don’t exist. We have memories of the service and it’s not fair to be cut out of the loop. I think it’s a disgrace.”

A police spokeswoman said, “The Chief Constable spoke of the service being an opportunity to honour our colleagues, and he reminded people of the tremendous debt of gratitude owed to the men and women of the Police Reserve.

“He made special reference to those colleagues murdered in the execution of their duty, saying, ‘Those officers who were murdered, are also at the forefront of our thoughts today.

“Over the course of the last thirty years, there have been numerous families who have had to live with the loss of a father, mother, sister or brother.

“We remember them and their loved ones, as we collectively gather in contemplation of the role that all the Reservists have played in our society.”

The spokeswoman refuted claims the RUC was not mentioned during the service.

“In his address, the Chief Constable made clear mention of the role played by the Royal Ulster Constabulary George Cross, as did the Reverend Dr. Donald Patton, former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, in his sermon,” she added.

“The standards of both the Royal Ulster Constabulary George Cross and the Police Service of Northern Ireland were displayed in the Cathedral throughout the Service.”