His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge visited the Met’s Croydon Custody Centre today (Wednesday, 12 May) to pay his respects to Sergeant Matt Ratana, who was tragically shot and killed while on duty in September 2020.
During his visit, The Duke was welcomed by Commissioner Cressida Dick and introduced to Matt’s partner and some of his closest friends and colleagues.
As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, The Duke also met some of the staff and officers working to provide mental health support to colleagues across the Metropolitan Police Service. Initiatives such as Operation Hampshire look to provide support to Met officers who have been assaulted or injured during the course of their duties. Likewise, across the Met, some 1,200 Blue Light Champions work to break down the stigma of mental health, offering peer-to-peer guidance and support to colleagues in need of help.
Commissioner Cressida Dick, 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.
“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. I am so pleased that His Royal Highness could meet those unsung heroes of the Met, looking out for the wellbeing of our officers.”
One of those officers who met with The Duke was Inspector Wil Ajose-Adeogun, who was Sergeant Ratana’s line manager and close friend.
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.”
As part of The Duke’s visit to Croydon Custody Centre, he also met Police Dog Dexter, the Met’s first wellbeing dog. His handler, PC Mike Sheather, explained how PD Dexter is deployed to comfort police officers and staff who have been exposed to trauma.
Throughout the past 12 months, PD Dexter has also visited hospitals in London, providing comfort to doctors and nurses on the frontline of battling the Covid-19 pandemic.