Firework laws must be urgently reviewed

Met boss leads tributes to hero sergeant

Dame Cressida Dick led the tributes at the funeral of Sergeant Matiu ‘Matt’ Ratana, who was fatally shot at a custody centre in Croydon on 25 September. Speaking at the funeral on

4 November, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner said: “Matt was a great police ofcer; he was a brilliant sergeant and he was a lovely man. What made him a great police ofcer… was his joyous personality and his big, lion’s heart.” Dame Cressida said the Met

suited Matt, and the Force had been “so lucky” to have him. “His legacy in policing will live on

in all those he has encouraged, trained and taught, and the inspiration he has been to policing people now and in the future,” she added. “We’ll miss you. We love you. We honour you. And to quote one of your teams, whom you loved, and who loved you dearly, ‘We’ll take it from here, Sarge’.” There were also emotional words

from Sergeant Ratana’s family in New Zealand, who said: “We take comfort in the knowledge that he is surrounded by people who love him just as much as we do.” Matt’s son Luke, who is also a

police ofcer, spoke of the positive impact Sergeant Ratana had on the community, his love of rugby and the All Blacks team, and asked that “people will come together, comfort one another, and take strength from the happy memories of Dad’s life”. The ceremony concluded with a haka, the traditional Māori cultural dance.


The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) called for an urgent review into the sale of fireworks following shocking incidents in November where they were thrown at emergency workers and members of the public. Our National Chair John Apter said:

“We have witnessed pitched battles in the streets with fireworks being used as a weapon of choice and fired indiscriminately at police officers. This is not just a ‘bit of fun’ it is a serious issue which can, and does, lead to people being badly injured. “This dangerous, irresponsible and

unlawful use of fireworks can no longer be ignored. The current legislation is clearly not fit for purpose, and there must be a comprehensive and urgent review which should include the availability of over the counter fireworks.”

Chaotic scenes unfolded during

Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night as emergency workers and innocent bystanders were targeted in a spate of firework attacks. In Lancashire, officers had to take cover inside their van as rockets were fired by youths as they were waiting for firefighters to assist with tackling a blaze. There were numerous reports of them being launched at officers and firefighters in Wales, and in Merseyside officers were attacked when responding to reports of a large gathering

in Birkenhead contrary to lockdown. A firework exploded inside an

officer’s car in Sheffield and groups in Woolwich, London, were aiming them at buses.

Mr Apter continued: “On behalf of my

colleagues, I will be raising my concerns directly with the Home Secretary and senior leaders within policing to see what we can do to stem the increasingly criminal and inappropriate use of fireworks at this time of the year. “This violent behaviour towards emergency service workers, who are doing their jobs and helping people in need, is totally unacceptable. There must be harsher punishments to send a clear and unequivocal message that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated.” On 7 November, two police officers

were injured in Northamptonshire when a kettle of boiling water was thrown at them. One of the officers will require plastic surgery following the attack, which Chief Constable Nick Adderley described as “appalling”. A 15-year-old girl, who was arrested at the scene, has appeared at Northampton Magistrates’ Court accused of assaulting an emergency worker. Chair of Northamptonshire Police

Federation Sam Dobbs, said: “This was an officer with just over two years’ service who went to a normal incident and sustained quite horrific injuries.”

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