It is an understatement to say that it has been a truly, truly awful couple of weeks for Policing.
3 outrageous assaults on our colleagues, and one murder. It’s the kind of headlines you expect to see from other Countries, not from England, not here.
When we join the job, we do so to help you, to support your families in their times of need, to protect the most vulnerable and pursue the most dangerous. We do so knowing that sometimes we may come home a little bumped and bruised. We never joined to be killed. It feels surreal even writing that, I don’t think any of us can really believe what has happened over the last few days.
PC Harper was one of us. He was a man who joined the job and wanted to protect you. He literally gave the job every last thing he had, and we will never forget that.
Tonight, PC Harper’s wife, Lissie, has released a tribute to him. My god. If you haven’t already, you need to read it –
Next time you want to speak badly of the Police – whether it be because we took too long to get to a job, we’re buying a coffee in McDonald’s, we didn’t arrest somebody, whatever the reason, please just take a minute and think.
Think of what job we may have just been coming from, think of what we’ve just heard on the radio, take the time to wonder when we actually last got to sit down on a meal break.
No matter what day of the year it is, no matter what time of the day it is, we are always, always there for you.
We literally run towards the danger as you run away. We hold your loved ones when we’ve told them the worst news. We support you in your time of need. We spend time with your children so they’re not scared of us and our uniform. We’ll cancel our own plans so that we can finish our job. We’ll miss birthdays, Christmas’s, anniversaries, weddings.
We’ll try to explain to our nearest and dearest that no, we don’t work Monday-Friday and yes, the next weekend we’re off and free really is in three months time. We’ll Facetime our families when they’re all together so that we aren’t totally missing out.
We miss so much, but we do it because we joined this job to protect you, to keep you safe, and to do our best.
And yes, sometimes our best isn’t good enough, but we are only human.
Nobody should go to work and never come home. No colleague should have to perform that level of first aid on somebody wearing our own uniform. No family should be told that they’re loved one isn’t returning.
PC Harper gave the ultimate sacrifice on Thursday night. He will forever remain one of us. He’s a true hero.