A murder investigation has been launched after a Thames Valley Police officer has tragically died following an incident in Berkshire.
Thames Valley Police confirmed the death of the officer following a serious incident which occurred at around 11.30pm last night (15/8) near to the A4, Bath Road, between Reading and Newbury.
The incident happened at the crossroads of Ufton Lane and Lambdens Hill, near to Sulhamstead.
Tragically, PC Andrew Harper from the Roads Policing Proactive Unit based at Abingdon Police Station, who was attending a reported burglary, was killed while performing his duties.
A scene watch remains in place at the scene of the incident and Ufton Lane and Lambdens Hill remain closed.
The A4, Bath Road has since re-opened.
The scene of the incident | Image Credit: Sky News
A spokesperson for the force has confirmed that 10 teenagers and men, aged between 13 and 30, have been arrested on suspicion of murder and are currently in police custody at various police stations across the Thames Valley.
Tributes from Pc Harper’s family have been left on Facebook with his grandmother, Maureen Shrimpton, writing:
“Just a really horrible day.
“Our grandson Andrew was killed last night while doing his police work.
“So proud of him. Our love goes to his lovely wife, Mum and Dad, brother and all of his family and friends. Love from Nan and Bubba xxx”
His uncle Dale Shrimpton posted:
“He’s my oldest Nephew. My sister’s first born. Mum and dads first grandson… And was married two weeks ago at a dream wedding.
“We are devastated.
“He was the loveliest person that you will ever meet. I can’t begin to tell you how we feel.”
Deputy Chief Constable Jason Hogg 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.”
Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Blaik, of the Thames Valley Police Major Crime Unit, said:
“This is a tragic incident, and I would like to reassure the public as well as our officers and staff that we have launched a full and thorough investigation to establish what has happened.
“We have made a total of ten arrests in connection with this incident, and those arrested are currently in police custody. Those arrested are all male and aged between 13 and 30.
“I would appeal to anyone who witnessed this incident to get in touch.
“If you have any information which you think could be at all relevant to our investigation, no matter how insignificant it may seem, please leave details on our website at https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about/cor/tell-us-about-existing-case-report/ or call 101.”
Police Federation boss, John Apter, said:
“The shocking news this morning from our colleagues at Thames Valley Police is simply devastating.
“My thoughts, those of the Police Federation, and of the whole police service are with PC Harper’s family, friends and colleagues at this terrible time.
“Every day police officers run towards the unknown, putting themselves in harm’s way to do their duty and protect the public. Sadly, on awful occasions such as this they make the ultimate sacrifice.
“When one of us falls the loss is felt by the entire police family.
“Our focus now is on supporting those who have been affected by what happened, and we and our colleagues at Thames Valley Police Federation will continue to offer them all the help and assistance we can at this tragic time.”
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Tweeted:
“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 and and down the country put themselves at risk every single day to keep us safe.
“They have my absolute support”.
The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said:
“My thoughts are with the family of PC Andrew Harper who was killed in the line of duty last night”.
Tributes have been pouring out onto social media, as the emergency services family comes together to offer their support to PC Harper’s family, friends and colleagues.
Andy Fiddler, from Thames Valley Police Federation, said:
“This is totally devastating news. All our thoughts – and the thoughts of the entire police family across the UK – are with the family, friends and close colleagues of PC Andrew Harper who died last night.
“Police officers go to work each and every day to do their duty. We are courageous, caring and compassionate. We confront danger on a daily basis. We know there is a risk when we put on the uniform but we do so as we are proud to protect the public.
“Sadly on very rare and horrendous occasions a colleague makes the ultimate sacrifice. We will ensure that heroism is never forgotten.”
He added: “We are offering our full support to the officer’s family and colleagues at this simply awful time.”
PC Andrew Harper had married just last month and was due to go on his honeymoon next week.
The tragic death follows a week during which two officers have been seriously injured whilst on duty.
Two days later, on the 10th August, PC Gareth Philips (West Midlands Police) was mowed down by a suspected car thief who had allegedly hijacked the officers car.
PC Philips remains in hospital having undergone several operations.
Last updated: 15:42 Friday 16th August, 2019.