Three men convicted of the manslaughter of PC Andrew Harper
Today three men, Henry Long, aged 19, Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole, both aged 18, have been convicted of the manslaughter of PC Andrew Harper.
The jury had deliberated for over 12 hours before finding the defendants not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter. These verdicts followed a four week trial at the Central Criminal Court in London which had to be restarted due to COVID-19.
The three men had all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal a quadbike, along with another man, Thomas King, aged 21 who was not directly involved in the incident which led to PC Harper’s death.
Sentencing will take place a week today, 31st July, at the Central Criminal Court on Friday 31 July.
The death of PC Andrew Harper, in such a shocking circumstances, was a huge blow to everyone in Thames Valley Police and many in the wider community. It is hugely disappointing that the murder charges were not upheld, but no outcome could possibly have brought comfort to Andrew's loved ones. I respect the verdict of the jury in what was a complex case. Manslaughter is an incredibly serious offence, which can carry a life sentence, and I await with interest the outcome of the sentencing at the end of the month.
Our thoughts and condolences go Andrew's widow and family who have had to live through not only the tragic loss of a loved one, but the media attention that followed and the judicial process to reach today's verdicts.
I must also offer heartfelt thanks to all of the Thames Valley Police Officers and staff who have been involved in the investigation. It is their hard work and dedication to impartially and diligently seek out the truth about that night's events that has led to these convictions.
Andrew was a dedicated police officer and public servant - killed in the act of doing his job. We will always remember him.
Face masks - a big thank you!
As face masks become mandatory from today in shops and other public places across the country it is time to say a huge "thank you" to everyone who has done their bit to help reduce the risk from coronavirus. Not just the NHS workers who have been on the front line, but everyone who has stayed at home, isolated themselves from others and helped to reduce the spread of the virus.
From today (24th July) by law we must all wear face coverings in public places. Just like the requirement to wear a face covering on public transport and the stay at home restrictions before that, the vast majority of people have complied with the legislation.
The work of Thames Valley Police officers to help apply these regulations has been fantastic. The approach taken has become known as the 4 E's. To engage with the public, to explain why the rules are in place to protect public health, to encourage people to do the right thing, and only to enforce as a last resort.
As we now move into this new phase of tackling the virus I am sure that the vast majority of people will continue to respect the reasons for the regulations being in place and follow the rules in order to help protect others. As before enforcement will be a last resort as we all play our part in reducing the spread of infection and gradually returning to normal.
Victims First and Crimestoppers launch domestic abuse campaign in Thames Valley
Victims First, the victims service provided by the Thames Valley Police & Crime Commissioner, which supports victims of crime and abuse across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, has launched a campaign with national charity Crimestoppers to raise awareness of domestic abuse and the support available to victims.
In response to the increased risk of domestic abuse during lockdown, the joint campaign aims to raise awareness of Crimestoppers’ anonymous reporting service for people who are concerned about others and to signpost victims of domestic abuse themselves to Victims First for emotional and practical support.
Matthew Barber, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner said: “We know that the lockdown measures put in place due to COVID-19 have increased the risk for people in abusive relationships. While some restrictions are now easing, many victims will still be living with their abusers. Some people may not feel comfortable reporting to the police so we hope this campaign will help by raising awareness within communities on how to report domestic abuse anonymously to Crimestoppers, and by helping victims themselves reach out for support through our service, Victims First.”
Victims First is managed by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley and anyone affected by domestic abuse can access support through Victims First on 0300 1234 148 or online at www.victims-first.org.uk.
Anyone concerned that someone else is experiencing domestic abuse, can report it to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit https://crimestoppers-uk.org/keeping-safe/personal-safety/domestic-abuse. In an emergency always call 999.
HMICFRS State of policing - Thames Valley rated GOOD
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has released the ‘State of Policing: The Annual Assessment of Policing in England and Wales 2019’.
Anthony Stansfeld, Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, said: “I welcome the latest HMICFRS report on the state of policing across England and Wales. This detailed assessment of the role of police services highlights the challenges facing forces across the country.
“I am pleased to see Thames Valley Police remains rated as ‘Good’ for Effectiveness and Legitimacy by HMICFRS. This is unchanged since their last report in 2019. We continue to focus on areas which need improvement and welcome the suggestions made in the report. We have also seen the recruitment of an additional 151 officers, since November 2019, in the Thames Valley. I am excited for the positive impact this will have on frontline policing within the region.
“Now more than ever we have seen how important our officers are and we are pleased to hear that HMICFRS continues to support the role of police forces across the country. Our priority in the Thames Valley continues to be to support our local communities through reducing crime and catching those that commit it.”
Over £807,000 awarded to support victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence in the Thames Valley
The Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley has awarded over £807,000 to charities and community interest companies to support them in helping victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.
The Ministry of Justice emergency funding has been awarded to 26 organisations across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire to help them adapt their services during the pandemic to enable them to continue to support the needs of victims. The funding covers costs incurred during the pandemic and anticipated spending from 24th March – 31 October 2020.
Anthony Stansfeld, Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley said “During lockdown, organisations across the Thames Valley have worked tirelessly to ensure they continue to support victims. Many have adapted the way they work and invested in technology to reach people remotely. Some have also lost income through their inability to raise funds.
“I am delighted to be able to award this funding to help them support victims during this time. As restrictions begin to ease, it is likely we will see a rise in the number of people seeking support from domestic abuse and sexual violence services and it is vital that this support remains available and accessible to those who need it.”
Funding has been awarded to both small and larger organisations working with victims across the Thames Valley. Organisations will spend the funding across a range of areas including utilising technology to enable remote working, PPE and cleaning supplies to help deliver face-to-face working as restrictions ease, as well as new programmes of support and staffing costs.
Virtual policing and crime discussion event
Join me for an online discussion about the big issues affecting policing and crime across Thames Valley and the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner in delivering and effective and efficient police force.
Due to the coronavirus restrictions my normal face to face events have been put on hold but thanks to video technology there is an alternative.
The next live discussion will be via Zoom on Monday 17th August, 7-8pm. Click the link below to register now to join this free event.
Make your voice heard to help shape the future!
The role of the Police & Crime Commissioner includes holding to Chief Constable to account, setting the council tax precept for policing, commissioning services for victims of crime, funding community safety partnerships and setting the policing priorities for the Thames Valley.
I want to know your views about policing where you live. Please spare a few moments to complete my short survey and tell me what you think is going well and what can be done better. Click the button below or visit www.matthewbarber.co.uk/haveyoursay.
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