The Duke of Cambridge visited Croydon custody centre to pay tribute to Sergeant Matt Ratana, who was killed while on duty in September 2020.
Ratana was fatally shot as he prepared to search a handcuffed suspect at the custody centre, in the early hours of September 25 last year.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, who welcomed the Duke during his visit, said: “The awful killing of Sergeant Matt Ratana sent shockwaves through the Met and I know we continue to mourn his loss.”
“Matt left a powerful legacy across the Met and I was proud to welcome His Royal Highness to Croydon custody centre and to meet some of Matt’s colleagues and friends.”
The Duke laid a wreath on a memorial bench in honour of Ratana and offered his condolences to the police officer’s colleagues as well as his partner, Su Busby.
Inspector Wil Ajose-Adeogun, a close friend of Ratana, also met the Duke.
He said: “Meeting The Duke today brought back many fond memories of Matt, his enormous energy, his sense of duty and his overwhelming kindness. He was not just our colleague, he was our dear friend. His personality was the life and sound of Croydon custody centre and we all miss him dearly.”
Ratana worked in the Met Police for just under 30 years. He transferred to Croydon in 2015, where he was a custody sergeant.
The visit comes during Mental Health Awareness Week, where the Duke met with Met Police officers to offer mental health support.
Dick acknowledged the issue of mental health within the police force. She said: “Police officers put themselves in harm’s way to keep people safe every day and they can be exposed to very harrowing and traumatic experiences. I am extremely proud of the men and women across the Met who support colleagues who have experienced trauma, breaking down the stigma of mental health and ensuring those who need help are supported.”
Another former colleague and friend of Ratana, Sergeant Steve Braithwaite, described how his colleague’s death affected him. He said: “I felt numb. It was horrific. It’s been really tough.
“Even now I’m still a bit numb and not got to grieve and still think he will come round the corner again and give one of his big bear hugs. The atmosphere was tough here for a while, but it has got better slowly.”