We are currently experiencing network problems with the desktop version of Police Oracle. We hope to have these resolved as soon as possible.

Widows of fallen officers back campaign for Harper's Law

The widow of a Nottinghamshire police dog handler who says she felt “let down by the system” after her husband’s killer was convicted of manslaughter is backing Harper’s Law.

Tracy Walker’s husband, PC Ged Walker, died in 2003 when he was dragged along by a stolen taxi after trying to take the keys from the ignition of the car in Bulwell, Nottinghamshire.

The driver David Parfitt was cleared of murder and convicted of PC Walker’s manslaughter and sentenced to 13 years in prison, serving nine.

Lissie Harper, widow of Thames Valley PC Andrew Harper, has received cross-party backing for her campaign for mandatory life sentences for those who kill emergency workers after meetings with Home Secretary Priti Patel and Labour counterpart Nick Thomas-Symonds.

Also attending was shadow immigration minister Holly Lynch - and Sgt Andy Fiddler, from the Police Federation, who are backing Mrs Harper with the campaign.

PC Harper died when he became entangled in a tow rope as he tried to stop quad bike thieves in a Berkshire village in August last year.

The driver of the car, Henry Long, 19, and his two passengers Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole were cleared of murder and found guilty instead of manslaughter.

In a statement on the Thames Valley Police Federation Facebook page, Mrs Walker said Mrs Harper's battle to achieve Harper’s Law "really resonates with my own story".

She said: “Like Lissie, I felt let down by the system that deemed this barbaric act as unintentional and not deliberate.”

She went on to say: “What Lissie is trying to do is so important – time hasn’t diminished my pain and anger. In fact, it’s made me more determined to bang the drum about it so that people can understand the situation and what often happens when police officers get killed in this way.”

PC Ged Walker

Mrs Walker added: “What Lissie is trying to do is so important as this should never be allowed to happen again to others".

The Federation wants the law changed to create a specific offence of using a vehicle against an officer. The College of Policing and National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) Officer and Staff Safety Review last week recommended trials of safety measures including remotely operated immobilisation devices to prevent officers being injured by vehicles.

Mrs Walker said: “Police officers get dragged by cars all the time, but vehicles don’t seem to be considered as the weapon they are.

“So many officers are injured by vehicle crime, but it’s severity when sentencing is never dealt with the same as gun and knife crime.

“There are no consequences stopping people from doing this – there just doesn’t seem to be any accountability or deterrent.”

Harper’s Law has already been backed by Ruth Browning, whose husband Gareth was killed in 2013 as he tried to stop a stolen car.

Mrs Harper said: “To have the support of such a brave lady as Tracy, Ruth Browning – the widow of Pc Gareth Browning – and so many other police widows and widowers is so humbling and important.

“They join police officers from across the country, the public, the media and now politicians from all parties in giving us their support. The momentum continues to build and together we will achieve Harper’s Law.

“It’s going to be a long road but we must continue and battle for this. We must provide an appropriate punishment and a suitable deterrent to those who would kill our emergency services heroes.

“It means so much to so many.”

Leave a Comment
View Comments 1
In Other News
Ex-police and fire minister Sir Mike Penning backs Harper's Law
NPCC backs Harper's Law
'More than ever, National Police Memorial Day matters'
PC Harper's widow joins tributes to murdered Met officer
More News