The British Home Secretary has joined police chiefs and a congregation of almost 2,000 people in Belfast to pay tribute to police officers from across the UK who lost their lives on duty.

During the National Police Memorial Day service at the Waterfront Hall, candles were lit by relatives in remembrance of officers, one each from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Northern Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris MP said the British government owed "a tremendous debt of gratitude to the brave men and women of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Police Service of Northern Ireland".

"It is right and proper that we remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in their duty of protecting the wider community. We thank them and service personnel from across the UK for their service and dedication," he said.

British Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who gave a reading during the service, also paid tribute.

"To all the officers who lost their lives while working to keep us safe, we thank you and we honour you. Their bravery and commitment to their duty was unfaltering - society owes them and their loved ones a debt we cannot repay, but it is one we will not forget," she said.

PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne said it was a huge privilege for Belfast to host this year's Memorial Day.

"It was an honour to have the opportunity to meet with many families from Northern Ireland and across the United Kingdom and to remember their loved ones who have paid the ultimate price in service of their communities," he added.

"It is right and fitting that we take a moment each year to reflect and remember the loss of those who went before us and others who continue to put the safety of others above their own. Their sacrifice, commitment and dedication to their duty must never be forgotten."

There was silence as petals of remembrance, representing all who have lost their lives, descended from the gallery as the orchestra played 'Abide With Me' and the Last Post was sounded.

The organisers said almost 5,000 police officers have died while on duty since the modern service was formed over 180 years ago.

National Police Memorial Day is held each year on the nearest Sunday to St Michael’s Day, the patron saint of police.

Next years' service will take place on 24 September at St David's Hall in Cardiff.