Croydon's diverse communities united in a moving tribute to slain Metropolitan police officer Matt Ratana today (Saturday, October 10) for the start of National Hate Crime Awareness Week (October 10-17).

In a special online event that brought together civil leaders from the council and faith leaders from the borough's myriad religious communities, moving tributes were paid to Sergeant Matt, who was shot and killed in the line of duty at Croydon Custody Centre on Friday. September 25.

The umbrella group Faiths Together in Croydon (FTiC) helped stage the event, which streamed online Saturday morning and has since been uploaded in full on YouTube.

"He was a very well-respected community officer with many special qualities.

"He encouraged people to join with Faiths Together and so we wanted to show our sorrow at his passing," a spokesperson for FTiC said.

The video featured many moving tributes to Sergeant Matt from some of the most prominent figures in the borough, including Mayor of Croydon Maddie Henson.

"A week and a half ago, Croydon lost one of our own. Sergeant Matt was a wonderful man, a dedicated police officer and a wonderful human being.

"He was simply the best of us, and his tragic death really hit home to me even more why events like this are so important.

"The work that faiths together are doing in Croydon is so vital in seeing an end to this scourge in our society," she said.

Among the faiths to express their condolences to Matt's family were Muslim members of Croydon's Islamic Centre.

The centre's resident Imam said:

"On behalf of the community of the mosque, our sincere prayers for the family of Sgt Matt Ratana, who was tragically killed in the line of duty.

"We are deeply sorry after hearing of the incident. We want you to know that we are here for you."

Other who provided statements for the ceremony included a spokesperson for Croydon's Buddhist community:

"As a bhuddist, hate is an interesting concept, as both the elements are choices. Hate is not a natural feeling. We choose to hate, usually because we have been taught to hate by others," they said.

"If we concentrate on reducing personal and societal hate, then the crime aspect will also diminish. Hate has no value in peaceful coexistence. The change starts with us. Don't ignore hate at any level."

The launch of Hate Awareness Week meanwhile included an Introduction from Penny Smith Orr, Chair FTiC, and “The day has come”, a poem dedication from Dr Abdul Basit Syed, founder chair of the World Humanitarian Drive (WHD) who co-sponsored the event.