Thames Valley Police marks the first anniversary of the death of PC Andrew Harper
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Today (14/8), Thames Valley Police officers and staff from across the force have gathered to mark the one year anniversary of the death of PC Andrew Harper.
PC Harper, of the Roads Policing Proactive Unit, was killed on 15 August last year while responding to reports of a burglary in process in Stanford Dingley, Berkshire. He was 28-years-old.
Last month, three men were convicted of PC Harper’s manslaughter and were sentenced to a combined 42 years’ imprisonment.
At the force training centre in Sulhamstead, Thames Valley Police Chief Constable John Campbell was joined by Hampshire Police Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney as well as PC Harper’s family and some of his closest colleagues for a service led by the force chaplain, Reverend Helen Arnold.
The service also contained readings from the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld and PC Harper’s widow Lissie, who read a poem she had written for the occasion entitled For You.
Other services were held at the same time at Abingdon police station, where PC Harper was based, and Newbury police station, the closest station to the location of the incident last year.
At the service in Sulhamstead, Chief Constable John Campbell read some words of reflection, which were followed by some words of reflection by Revd Helen Arnold.
Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney read a poem entitled Too Soon, and this was followed by a reading of the Thames Valley Police prayer.
A bench at Sulhamstead was also dedicated in PC Harper’s memory.
At 11am, officers and staff across Thames Valley Police observed a minute silence.
Speaking at Sulhamstead, Chief Constable Campbell said: “We gather here today, as we did a year ago, to remember PC Andrew Harper, who gave his life on behalf of others.
“These past 12 months have been an incredibly difficult time, especially for Andrew’s family, who are here with us today. I can only imagine what they have had to endure.
“It has also been a very emotional time for all of us at Thames Valley Police, and across the wider policing family. We have all been deeply affected by Andrew’s death, whether we knew him personally or not. The senseless loss of a colleague is hard enough, but being newly married, made his death all the more heart-breaking.
“This tragedy has also affected our communities and the wider public, reflected in the outpouring of support for Andrew right across the country. I am very proud and grateful for the way we have all come together and how everyone has supported each other since Andrew’s death.
“Andrew was a brave young police officer, killed whilst doing the job that he loved. He was a good man who believed in policing. His dedication to protect the public from harm is testament to his courage and professionalism.
“It will continue to take us a long time to come to terms with what has happened. The grieving process will continue, and for Andrew’s family and closest friends, I know that there will be no sense of closure. Andrew’s tragic death is something that will stay with all of us forever.
“We will never forget Andrew Harper’s sacrifice. We are proud to have called him our colleague and our friend.”