The Chief Constable's Speech at the Presentation of the George Cross
"Your Majesty, your Royal Highness, honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen. It is impossible for me to find words to adequately convey the deep sense of pride and honour that I feel, that officers past and present feel, that civilian colleagues and families and friends feel today. Your most gracious decision, Your Majesty, and that of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, to come to Northern Ireland to present the George Cross to the Royal Ulster Constabulary is so greatly appreciated.
Each one of us recognises the signal honour that has been bestowed upon our most proud Organisation. This is truly a momentous day.
On behalf therefore of the wider policing family in the Province, I express my, and our, deepest gratitude. The significance that this is only the second time in its illustrious history that the George Cross has been awarded for an act of collective bravery is not lost on the men and women of the RUC. Just as was the case with the people of Malta in the dark days of 1942, it is humbling for us to see acknowledged in this most meaningful and public way, the sacrifice and dedication to duty of the RUC.
This award is, of course, not only to officers and civilian colleagues currently serving, but to all those who have gone before, since our creation in 1922. We, down through the years, simply could not have provided the policing service we did; we could not today provide the policing service we do, without the support of policing colleagues in the Republic of Ireland, throughout the United Kingdom and, indeed, across the world. I am delighted that those colleagues are represented today.
I think it is most fitting that the citation also mentions families and friends who have shared difficulties and dangers down through the years. The significance is not lost on the wider public, whose support we so dearly cherish. I salute all those individuals, organisations, agencies and community groups, without whose partnership we simply could not function.
I want too, to pay a special tribute to our military colleagues. Their dedication to duty and selfless courage have been offered so freely on behalf of all the people of Northern Ireland.
I have said that this is a momentous day for the Royal Ulster Constabulary - and all of those present, and indeed those who cannot be present, share tremendous pride in the award of George Cross. But there is not one of us who is not reflecting today on those officers whose lives were so cruelly taken; on those officers who have been so grievously injured in the course of their duty; they, and their families are today and constantly in our thoughts. Our pride and our memories will be forever with each and every one of us.
But as a policing service, we now look forward to a new and exciting future, a future we seek to build on the traditions in the past, on the wonderful foundations laid by officers in the past and being laid by officers currently serving. This most gracious award is not only therefore a recognition of outstanding past achievement, but the most tremendous incentive to us all, now and in the years to come, to draw on that past experience; to work in partnership with all the people of Northern Ireland; to build a better future for us all and for generations to come.