The shocking death of PC Andrew Harper in such tragic circumstances late on Thursday night have rocked Thames Valley Police Force and the community it services.
At the time of writing 10 people remain in custody and the murder inquiry continues. The priority for the whole Force is to ensure that those responsible for Andrew's tragic death are brought to justice.
The last few days have been hugely distressing for everyone in the police family, but especially those who knew PC Harper personally and have served with him. Appropriate support is of course in place for them, but I am sure the outpouring of support from the wider community has been of great comfort to many police officers.
Whilst at the scene over the weekend, I witnessed a number of members of the public bringing their own floral tributes and handing them to the officers who were guarding the scene. Over the last couple of days those tributes have grown further.
It is telling that while most of the outrage understandably been from people who had not met Andrew, but were simply appalled by the a police officer losing their life on duty, there have been a huge number of tributes paid to him by those who did know him and recognise his exemplary service. Many members of the public who had dealings with him in the past have come forward put on record their thanks for his work over many years. His colleagues tell a similar story of a dedicated police officer who always performed his duty with courage and commitment. This should serve to remind us that whilst this is a deeply disturbing time for the Force and an event that has shocked the nation, it remains first and foremost a devastating personal tragedy.
The Thames Valley Police Federation have set up a crowdfunding page which to date has already raised over £134,000. Andrew's family will decide what to do with the money raised in due course. Members of the public have given generously and anyone can add their support on the page: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/pc-andrew-harper.
Our thoughts and prayers should remain with Andrew's widow and his wider family. Every effort will be made to ensure those responsible are held to account and just as importantly we must ensure that Andrew's memory lives on, and that his year's of dedication and service to the people of Thames Valley is never forgotten.