From the desk of Roland Rocchiccioli – 24 September

September 24, 2023 BY

Vale: Blue Ribbon Day perpetuates the memory of 175 members of the Victoria Police whose lives were sacrificed in the line of duty; and of whom, 30 were murdered. Image: SUPPLIED

National Police Remembrance Day – 29 September – is an opportunity for all Australians to take a moment to reflect, with gratitude, on those courageous men and women of our state police forces who have given their lives in the line of duty.


IN Bendigo, the National Police Day Remembrance Service, 29 September, will be held at St Paul’s Anglican Church, Myer Street, commencing at 10am, and led by Victoria Police Superintendent Brad Dixon.

The men and women in blue are our last line of defence. Only they stand between us, and anarchy and chaos. Regrettably, too many have fallen in safeguarding us from those who wreak havoc in our lives; those determined offenders committed to doing harm with their blatant lawlessness.

The annals of global police forces are bursting with the tales of those heroic men and women who risked their lives in the line service. For some it proved their final act of great courage. Now, their names are writ large in the book of gold, and their perpetual light shines eternal in the immortal pantheon of gallant heroes; those selfless individuals pledged to the service of their fellow traveller.

In Australia, the National Police Bravery Awards has been specifically developed as “an award for police, by police”. It transcends all state and jurisdictional divides, thus making the recipients truly national heroes.

The Victoria Police Memorial, St Kilda Road, Melbourne, is a sacred monument dedicated to those brave men and women killed in the line of duty since the inception of the Victoria Police Force, 1853. The monument carries the inscription, ‘This memorial recognises the ultimate sacrifice paid by members of the Victoria Police Force in maintaining law & order in Victoria. The memorial stands as a symbol of the community’s deepest respect, and as a tribute to those members of the Victoria Police Force who have given their lives in the line of duty so that the Victorian community is a safer place for all.’

Inexplicably, the insatiable public appetite for the minutiae of police force practice, in its various guises and divisions, continues unabated. In Australia, some of the longest-running and best-loved television series have been police shows! While script writers work assiduously, mining the rich pickings of police methodology for authenticity, much of their work shown on- screen is homogenised for public consumption.

Paradoxically, Ned Kelly, who fatally shot three police officers in 1878 is judged a folk hero. Spuriously, through the romantic hue of 2023, he is lauded as the genesis of Australian larrikinism. In truth, he was a menacing bushranger; a cattle rustler, who lived his short life on the wrong side of the law. The Kelly Gang murdered three policemen. Mitigating circumstances notwithstanding, the gang were, by modern definition, terrorists and murderers.

The police are our constant guardians; the keepers of our community. In this sometimes troubled and nuanced world, it is their presence which keeps us safe in our beds. It is to them we turn in our moments of greatest distress. They are the dependable, altruistic, frontline workers in whom we place our trust in times of national crisis. Under the protection of their patron, Saint Michael the Archangel, they are sworn, above all, to ‘Uphold The Right’.

National Police Remembrance Day is the community’s opportunity to bid the dearly departed: Pax Aeterna; and to those who continue to serve: thank you for keeping us safe.

Roland can be contacted via [email protected].