In several ways, Patrick Dunne was an unusual police officer.
He was head of Business Studies at a school in Surrey, a professional teacher with a maths degree, when he submitted an application to enlist in the army at the age of 41.
Dunne had taught underprivileged youngsters, therefore he was deeply committed to doing community work.
As a schoolmaster in Newcastle upon Tyne, he had led a multi-agency social services committee and provided free private tuition to underprivileged working-class students.
It was part of the public service mentality to be a beat Bobby.
He had no desire to advance in his career or take on a different role in law enforcement.
Ivan, Patrick’s younger brother, recalls, “Patrick just wanted to help people.”
“He detested unfairness and injustice in general, and he was the person you could always turn to when you needed help.”
I have a large stack of letters from people who knew him when he was a police officer, praising him for always going above and beyond to assist, frequently on his own time.
He was just that way.
Computer Even as a probationer, Dunne was given his own beat in Clapham, South London, an uncommon accomplishment, and he made it his mission to be aware of everything that happened.
John Rees, the station superintendent at the time, thought he was a perfect cop.
Rees remarked, “He always tried to resolve issues without confrontation and had a quiet maturity.”
Although Lambeth was quite composed and competent at the time, he could be quite erratic.
People grew fond to him.
I was certain he wouldn’t fail to uphold the force.
Trolling on foot or by bicycle, and always by himself, he was the closest thing to a 1950s-era copper operating in a contemporary environment.
However, 30 years ago this coming week, on October 20, 1993, his Dixon of Dock Green universe collided fatally with a parallel universe of violence, gangsterism, and chaos.
Dunne went to investigate after hearing what sounded like gunshots from the residence across from him while responding to a minor domestic dispute on his route in Cato Road.
Three armed individuals approached him as he was crossing the street.
They were headed by Gary Lloyd Nelson, a deranged career criminal and “hit man.
“William Danso, a nightclub bouncer, had just been killed by them at his house after two days of violent altercations.
Nelson shot the policeman once in the chest.
According to witnesses, the three men walked to a waiting car while he lay dying, laughing and firing a celebration shot into the air.
Everyone is in mourning for Pat Dunne, who was not the first nor the last police killed while performing their duties.
However, there was something particularly startling about the callousness and careless violence of seeing an unarmed Bobby killed so callously.
On the day of his funeral, mourners flocked to the adjacent streets, and some formed a human chain outside the graceful Holy Trinity church situated on Clapham Common.
I remember the intense sadness on the faces of PC Dunne’s coworkers that icy afternoon, especially the then-Met Commissioner Paul Condon, whose own face was completely white.
It resembled a death in the family.
Since then, a small group of his former coworkers and frequently relatives have convened annually to respect his memory and celebrate his life on or around the anniversary of the shooting.
This will be the final year because the participants’ ageing bodies are catching up to them.
Ivan states, “It has truly meant a lot to me and the family.”
“They were hurt by Patrick’s passing and wanted to ensure he would not be forgotten.”
This modest celebration serves as a timely reminder of the dangers made by thousands of fine men and women who brave the streets every day, never knowing what obstacles they may encounter.
Police have been the target of intense criticism recently, some of it well-deserved.
According to the most recent data from the College of Policing, 41,000 assaults on police officers were reported last year, or more than 100 assaults per day on average.
Some will only involve pushing, while others will be far more serious and, very seldom, lethal.
Like with PC Dunne, these deaths frequently occur at random and without any warning of impending peril.
Thames River Computer When Andrew Harper was investigating a break-in, he was pulled beneath the wheels of a getaway vehicle.
Sgt. Matt Ratana was shot in a Croydon detention suite while interacting with a suspect.
Computer Keith Palmer, a Parliament security guard, was fatally stabbed by an Islamist terrorist.
The frenzied gun and grenade attack in a Greater Manchester area claimed the lives of PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes.
There are those who lost their lives while directly attempting to save others.
Computer Officer Ian Dibell was shot and killed in Essex while tackling a shooter who was aiming his weapon at bystanders.
When he intervened to thwart an armed robbery in Hertfordshire, PC Francis Mason was not on duty.
Recently, Sgt. Graham Saville was struck by a train while attempting to assist a guy who was in difficulty on the track.
“These are individuals who don the uniform each day and give it their all,” said Rick Prior, deputy chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation.
“Wayne Couzens, the serving Met officer who sexually assaulted and killed Sarah Everard, was clearly the target of a lot of disgust, but none of them was more disgusted than all the police officers who perform their duties with integrity.”
The police’s reputation has recently been damaged by a number of other events.
Nonetheless, surveys continue to point to a high level of satisfaction with in-person interactions between the public and rank-and-file officers.
“The relationship is excellent one-to-one,” states Prior.
But the work is becoming more difficult due to the widespread abuse of police and the decline of community policing.
With much too few resources, we are attempting to accomplish far too much.
Colleagues and family members of Patrick Dunne will undoubtedly applaud Gary Nelson, his killer, for receiving a life sentence with a 35-year minimum term, as they assemble for the final time at the Warren, a Bromley police members’ club.
After avoiding prosecution for thirteen years, he was ultimately found guilty in February 2006 at Woolwich Crown Court.
Stephen, a former preacher and brother of PC Dunne, said he had come to forgive Nelson from the bottom of his heart.
Ivan hasn’t: “Knowing he’s been hurt, lost his freedom, and hopefully never getting it back gives me a lot of pleasure.”
The police department is not without its shortcomings, although they are perhaps much less than those of society as a whole.
In this nation, permission has always been the basis for policing.
Instead of limiting people’s rights, officers are there to protect them.
They have never been given weapons on a regular basis, and making an arrest should never be done lightly.
‘The police are the public and the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to tasks which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of communal welfare,’ stated Sir Robert Peel, the founding father of the Met.
Like the great majority of today’s front-line cops, Patrick Dunne exemplified these values.
These still hold true and are pertinent now just as they did almost two centuries ago.