Belfast Telegraph

Murdered officer Andrew Harper must not be forgotten, says Orde

A police officer arranges flowers left near the scene where Thames Valley Police officer PC Andrew Harper was killed
A police officer arranges flowers left near the scene where Thames Valley Police officer PC Andrew Harper was killed
PC Andrew Harper
Former PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde
Adrian Rutherford

By Adrian Rutherford

Former PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde has said the sacrifice made by those in policing must never be forgotten as he paid tribute to murdered officer Andrew Harper.

The 28-year-old died on Thursday in Berkshire when he was dragged along the road by a vehicle while responding to a burglary.

Ten males aged between 13 and 30 have been held on suspicion of murder and remained in custody yesterday.

Home Secretary Priti Patel described the newlywed officer as a "hero" and said she had instructed the Home Office to urgently explore how it can better support the families of officers injured or killed by criminals.

And Sir Hugh (60), who was Chief Constable here from 2002 to 2009, also spoke of his shock at the death of the "brave young officer".

Writing in the Sunday Express, he said: "His death brings home to us the dangers that police officers face every day.

"Sadly some pay that ultimate price."

He added: "I was struck by the photos in yesterday's newspaper of Andrew and his wife Lissie on their wedding day. It showed that behind every officer lost there is a human story - of a husband, wife, father, mother, son or daughter."

Sir Hugh, who is chairman of the Police Arboretum Memorial Trust, also recalled his own experience of losing an officer while in Northern Ireland.

He was Chief Constable when PSNI officer Stephen Carroll was shot dead by dissident republicans in Craigavon in 2009.

Sir Hugh added: "Stevie's murder had a profound impact on his family and colleagues. I had the privilege of meeting his wife Kate, just as I have met the widows of other officers.

"One thing was common throughout our discussions, the need to never forget their loved ones and the sacrifice they have made. I don't intend to do that, neither does the Trust."

PC Harper was killed after responding to a burglary at the A4 Bath Road near Sulhamstead village.

Since his death, people have been laying tributes on the grass near to where he died.

Ms Patel said PC Harper was the "very best of British policing" and that she had written to his family to express her condolences. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, she said: "The brutal and mindless killing of PC Andrew Harper on Thursday was a truly appalling and sickening act. It has shocked the nation.

"I have written to PC Harper's family to express my condolences and I know his death will continue to cause immeasurable pain for his loved ones and colleagues in the years to come.

"That is why I have instructed the Home Office to urgently explore what we can do to better support the families of our brave police officers who are seriously injured or worse by cowardly criminals.

"PC Harper began his policing career as a volunteer police officer. He was the very best of British policing.

"The bravery he showed by heading towards danger to protect the public is extraordinary. He is a hero."

A fundraising page set up by the Thames Valley Police Federation raised more than £70,000 in a day.

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