Officer Killed, 10 Arrests in Third Major Violent Attack on British Police in a Week

BIRSTALL, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 17: Armed police stand guard near to the scene of the murder of Jo Cox, 41, Labour MP for Batley and Spen, who was shot and stabbed yesterday at her constituency surgery, on June 17, 2016 in Birstall, United Kingdom. The Labour MP for Batley …
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Thames Valley Police has arrested 10 males aged between 13 and 30 on suspicion of murder after one of its officers was killed whilst investigating a burglary.

PC Andrew Harper, who was part of the Roads Policing Unit, died at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday night near the A4 on Bath Road between Reading and Newbury in Berkshire.

Thames Valley Police has kept the release of information pertaining to the officer’s death to a minimum, confirming only that he was investigating a burglary before his death.

Deputy Chief Constable Jason Hogg at Thames Valley Police said: “Our deepest thoughts at this time are of course with Andrew’s friends and family, who are being supported by specially trained family liaison officers. Our thoughts also extend to all of Andrew’s colleagues within Thames Valley Police. As a force we are devastated at the loss of our colleague and will all be supporting each other at this difficult time.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said of the death: “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.

“It is the most powerful reminder that police officers up and down the country put themselves at risk every single day to keep us safe. They have my absolute support.”

Mr Johnson last week unveiled plans to get tough on crime, including expanding the police power stop-and-search, creating 10,000 extra prison places, and training 20,000 new police officers, in response to rising violent crime across the country.

Secretary of State for the Home Department Priti Patel, whose Home Office is responsible for law and order in the country, added: “My thoughts are with the family of PC Andrew Harper who was killed in the line of duty last night.”

On Thursday, Ms Patel’s Home Office building was itself the scene of a violent attack when a man, believed to be a Home Office security guard, was stabbed in the face outside of the building.

Thursday night’s killing happened in the same week that two other police officers were violently attacked in the line of duty. On August 8th, London Metropolitan Police Service constable Stuart Outten was stabbed in the head with a machete during a traffic stop of a motor offences suspect.

Days later, a 42-year-old West Midlands Police officer was run over by his own patrol vehicle in Birmingham after it was stolen by a suspected car thief, with the officer suffering serious injuries to his pelvis and head.

According to government statistics, in 2018/2019, there were over 30,000 assaults on police officers in England and Wales, with “assault without injury on a constable” seeing an increase of 13 per cent compared with the period before, and crimes of “assault with injury on a constable” seeing an increase of 27 per cent.

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