Boris Johnson ‘shocked and appalled’ by death of policeman on duty
Boris Johnson has said he is “deeply shocked and appalled” by the death of an on-duty officer in Berkshire, the latest in a series of attacks on police.
The Prime Minister offered his condolences following the death of Pc Andrew Harper in a “serious incident” while attending a reported burglary.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also sent his sympathies to Pc Harper’s family and reflected on the “horror” of the roads officer being killed in the line of duty.
Ten males aged between 13 and 30 were arrested on suspicion of murder in relation to the attack on Pc Harper near the village of Sulhamstead.
The incident came in the same fortnight as a police officer being attacked with a machete in Leyton, east London, and another being run over in Birmingham in an alleged attempted murder.
Mr Johnson has repeatedly highlighted the risks police face in recent weeks while announcing he would recruit an extra 20,000 officers to restore numbers to the level they were at before Tory cuts.
The PM said on Friday: “I am deeply shocked and appalled by the death of a brave officer on duty in Thames Valley last night.
“My thoughts are with Pc Harper’s family, friends and colleagues at this terrible time.
“They have my absolute support.”
Mr Corbyn, speaking during a visit to Wales, said the death highlighted the need for a boost to police numbers.
He told the PA news agency: “I’m totally shocked at Andrew Harper’s death, and my immediate thoughts are condolences to his family and to his colleagues, who must be going through some awful moments at the present time.
“Let’s just think for a moment of the horror of it, but also for the need for more police officers to be able to respond to disorder in our society, but also the problem of guns and the problem of violence that is growing.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was “devastated and appalled” by the death of the officer, who she said had served his community with “great pride”.
She added: “Pc Harper died in the line of duty protecting the public and his incredible bravery and extraordinary sacrifice will not be forgotten.”
Holly Lynch, who has campaigned in Parliament for better protection for emergency workers, said she was “absolutely sickened” by Pc Harper’s death, as she highlighted the spate of attacks.
“Boris promises too little too late for these cops, this Government has presided over the demise of law and order,” the Labour MP said.
“In the current climate, single crewing has to end, sentences must be a deterrent and we need to roll out protective equipment including Taser to those who want it and are trained to use it.
“Only when officers are safe can they keep communities safe.”
Thames Valley Police’s Deputy Chief Constable Jason Hogg said the force was “devastated at the loss of our colleague and will all be supporting each other at this difficult time”.