PRIME Minister Theresa May praised the 'extraordinary selflessness' of a Wirral policeman killed in the line of duty who was honoured with a permanent memorial during an emotional ceremony today.

Constable Dave Phillips, a father of two, died in October 2015 after being hit by a stolen vehicle he was trying to stop as it sped through Wallasey. The 34-year-old's death shocked the local community.

Nineteen-year-old Clayton Williams was later convicted of his manslaughter and sentenced to 20 years in jail.

A stone memorial in PC Phillips' memory was unveiled during a moving ceremony at Hamilton Square's historic gardens this afternoon.

Addressing those at the ceremony, Mrs May said: "We are here today to remember the extraordinary bravery and sacrifice of PC Dave Phillips.

"PC Phillips epitomised the very best of what we expect from our policemen and women; their compassion, professionalism but overwhelmingly their service and the extraordinary selflessness that meant PC Phillips saw it his duty to risk his life for the safety of his community.

"It was that duty which led PC Phillips to take on the criminal driving the stolen vehicle on that fateful night in October 2015.

"It was that duty and those remarkable qualities that led him to make the ultimate sacrifice.

"As we gather here today in remembrance we mourn the cruel loss of a young loving husband, father, son, brother, colleague and friend.

"But as we remember, it is also right to share an overwhelming sense of pride for everything that PC Phillips was and everything he stood for.

"We will come to the place and stop to remember the sacrifice PC Phillips made for his community.

"They will stop to remember a local boy who became a national hero.

"May he rest in peace and may his bravery inspire us for generations to come."

Granted by the Police Memorial Trust, it is the first time a Merseyside Police officer has been honoured in this way.

Attending the memorial's unveiling were PC Phillips' family, friends and former colleagues, as well as councillors, the borough's four MPs, council leader, mayor and consort.

Merseyside Police Band played a programme of specially selected music before the ceremony began.

Geraldine Winner is chair of The Police Memorial Trust, a charity founded by her late husband, the film director Sir Michael Winner.

During the ceremony Mrs Winner and Merseyside Chief Constable, Andy Cooke, paid tribute to PC Phillips' service and sacrifice.

Mrs Winner told the Globe afterwards: "PC Phillips was so loved, so cherished by family, friends and colleagues.

"He should never be forgotten.

"His whole family are loving and great, which just shows what a loving person he was. They are a great big wonderful family.

"I am so proud to have been able to help the family with its closure, that’s what this memorial stone represents.

"Hamilton Square is so beautiful. It's the first time I've been here and it’s an extraordinary setting."

Andy Cooke, Chief Constable of Merseyside Police told the Globe: "It's a fitting tribute, on a beautiful day in Birkenhead, where the police family and Dave’s family have come together to ensure his legacy lives on and his name is always remember.

"Dave was a fantastic police officer; resolute, brave and compassionate. He was a role model for many others and made the ultimate sacrifice for the people of Wirral and Merseyside.

"He put himself in danger where others didn't.

"A fantastic officer who should be remembered for what he did for the community.

"Police officers shouldn’t be assaulted.

"They shouldn't be there for any other reason than to protect the public and we should ensure that we protect the public.

"Dave Phillips has a legacy that will live on longer than any of us, quite rightly so."

PC Phillips' father Robin said: "I hope his legacy is that members of the public, who might be teetering, will realise that the police are there to help, not to hinder, and don't get the credit that they should.

"They are all family men – they are sons and daughters – and they go out and face the same problems that Dave did, God forbid they end up like Dave.

"They suffer the same stick and misunderstanding. I hope his legacy is that, yes the police do a damn hard job and hopefully no-one else will be murdered.

"They do a damn difficult job and should get credit for what they do to help us."