Fri, 14 Aug 2020
Memorials have been held in West Berkshire for Pc Andrew Harper ahead of the first anniversary of his death.
Thames Valley Police officers gathered today (Friday) for a series of services to mark Pc Harper’s death on August 15 last year.
The 28-year-old officer was dragged to his death after he was caught in a crane strap as he tried to stop three thieves fleeing after they stole a quad bike in Stanford Dingley.
At Newbury Police Station, 20 officers gathered at a time outside the station for two socially-distanced memorials with both uniformed and non-uniformed staff attending.
Simultaneous services were also held in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, and at the Thames Valley Police training centre in Sulhamstead, attended by members of Pc Harper’s family.
At the memorial in Newbury, Inspector Al Hawkett led the tributes.
He told the officers: “We have all been deeply affected by Andrew’s death, whether we knew him personally or not.
“The senseless loss of a colleague is hard enough, but being newly married made his death all the more heart-breaking.
“Andrew was a brave young police officer, killed whilst doing the job that he loved.”
Mr Hawkett said there would be “no sense of closure” for the officer’s family and friends.
He added: “Andrew’s tragic death is something that will stay with all of us forever.”
The senior officer later read out a poem written by Pc Harper’s widow Lissie, before he placed a wreath at the base of a half-mast flag outside of the station.
In the poem Mrs Harper described her husband as “kind and strong without venom or greed” and said she was lucky to be his wife.
It continued: “They will remember you now, so honest and true.
“King among men, forever dressed in blue.
“You’re a hero now my boy don’t you see.
“The truth is my love, you always were to me, Lissie.”
In addition to the memorials, officers across the Thames Valley region held a minute’s silence around 11 o’clock in memory of Pc Harper.
Thames Valley Police chief constable, John Campbell, said: "These past 12 months have been an incredibly difficult time, especially for Andrew's family, who are here with us today. I can only imagine what they have had to endure.
"It has also been a very emotional time for all of us at Thames Valley Police, and across the wider policing family. We have all been deeply affected by Andrew's death, whether we knew him personally or not. The senseless loss of a colleague is hard enough, but being newly married, made his death all the more heart-breaking".
He said the tragedy had affected the wider public, reflected in the outpouring of support for Pc Harper and his family across the country.
"Andrew was a brave young officer, killed whilst doing the job that he loved. He was a good man who believed in policing. His dedication to protect the public from harm is testament to his courage and professionalism."
Three teenagers, Henry Long, 19, and 18-year-olds Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole, from Mortimer and Aldermaston, were recently sentenced for the newlywed’s manslaughter.
Mrs Harper and Pc Harper's mother Debbie Adlam have launched Andrew's Law campaigns for tougher punishments for those who kill police officers and emergency service workers.
Chief cons Campbell said:"It will continue to take us a long time to come to terms with what has happened. The grieving process will continue, and for Andrew's family and closest friends, I know that there will be no sense of closure.
"Andrew's tragic death is something that will stay with us forever. We will never forget Andrew Harper's sacrifice. We are proud to have called him our colleague and our friend."