The tragic death of PC Andrew Harper

I was greatly saddened to learn of the death of Andrew Harper while on duty in West Berkshire. I send my condolences to his family. The whole local community is shocked by the tragedy.

It reminds us to thank  all those in the police and our other uniformed services who put themselves at risk to help the rest of us to live in safety.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized, Wokingham and West Berkshire Issues. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Lifelogic
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    An appalling tragedy for him and his poor family.

    Let us restore some real deterrents to such real crimes. Get the police priorities restored to something far more sensible than the current position. Most PCs at the coal face know exactly what they should be. Unlike many of the senior officers (who are often more concerned with hate crime and diversity targets, and indeed the failures in the court system.

    • Nig l
      Posted August 16, 2019 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      Very well put. As usual the politicians and senior offices who have created the environment to allow this to happen will continue to enjoy their priveleged life.

      His family will have a lifetime off loss. The perpetrators should get the same a lifetime of loss. Their liberty.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 17, 2019 at 7:50 am | Permalink

        Diligent research shows that it is the perceived risk of being caught which deters crime, not the severity of sentences once caught.

        It is far more expensive, but a drastic improvement in detection rates is what is required, then.

        That, and lifting people generally from the circumstances where crime appears to them to be a better option than a law-abiding life might too.

        • Pud
          Posted August 17, 2019 at 9:03 am | Permalink

          As you haven’t cited the research you mention I can’t comment on it directly. However, it seems counter-intuitive that a high risk of receiving a mild punishment is a deterrent. If the sentence is easy, why not serve it? Conversely, a harsh sentence is of little deterrent value if the likelihood of serving it is miniscule. I suggest that to deter criminals they need to believe that there is a a very high probability that they will be arrested and, on conviction, serve a tough sentence.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 17, 2019 at 10:31 am | Permalink

          I raised my boys in a high drugs, poverty listed post code and got them to Russell Group universities to study hard degrees, both free of drug abuse.

          The Government chooses to take advice on how to raise kids in such areas from ex cons rather than a parent like me.

          In fact my methods are condemned by the establishment: getting married, staying married, resisting temptation and staying by your kids, traditional parenting roles (a bit too paternalistic for some), corporal discipline on occasion, teaching by rote and 3Rs against ‘professional’ advice… above all streaming in abilities (by grammar school in our case.)

          All of this anathema to modernists.

        • Jack Leaver
          Posted August 17, 2019 at 11:08 am | Permalink

          Agreed Martin. Deterrence should be the prime aim of the criminal justice system. Low detection rates and soft sentences do not deter crime.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 17, 2019 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

          “That, and lifting people generally from the circumstances where crime appears to them to be a better option than a law-abiding life might too.”

          What ? Circumstances like gangsters living in London ? Jobs capital of the EU ? Where – despite free accommodation there – they still can’t make a go of it ? The place where thousands come from all around the world because there is so much opportunity ???

      • Hope
        Posted August 17, 2019 at 8:00 am | Permalink

        A woman was sentenced to ten years for killing her two innocent 23 month old children yesterday- ten years for two innocent lives!

        An every day occurrence of pathetic sentencing, excuses abound. Treat offenders like offenders and victims as true victims. There is no deterrent in the criminal justice system just left wing excuses.

        Gauke happy to release the worst serial rapist in modern history and it took Khan to stop it. He then admitted another four crimes!

        Go to court and watch daily travesties where people walk out from violent crimes with pathetic sentences, in contrast drivers get hammered with stronger sentences every time. It has become and acceptable culture in courts.
        Tories Weak on crime and weaknon causes of crime.

    • Bob
      Posted August 16, 2019 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately the police are prevented from identifying the community to which the culprits belong do to political correctness reasons. I understand one of them is just 13 years old.

      This PC nonsense has ruined many peoples lives.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

        It has indeed, political correctness causes far more harm than good.

      • forthurst
        Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

        Very little information has been released so far. It is unusual for the police to turn out for a burglary, however. There is obviously a lot more to this case apart from the tragedy at its heart.

      • tim
        Posted August 17, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        In my small town, there is an explosion of knife crime. I met one victim, 17 years old and was stabbed in the back by a 14 year old, who he had never met. He survived, 1/2 inch to the left and he would have been paralised from the waist down. Pumishment 2 years youth custody, it is a sick joke.

  2. Fred H
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    What dreadful news for the man’s new wife just starting a new life together, their families, relatives, friends and the colleagues in the force.
    Well Sir John, we are back with the MPs dilemma over capital punnishment.
    As you may remember, but did not publish on this site, I wrote that Capital punishment should be reintroduced for murder of policemen and children under 10.

    I wonder how the public would vote in a referendum?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 16, 2019 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Fred, most of us understand the emotion behind what you say.

      However, take a look at the US. It has a pro-rata murder rate five or six times higher than the European Union average, and it has capital punishment, along with far more severe sentencing generally.

      It is not severity of punishment which deters, but perceived risk of being caught, analysis shows.

      So that is where resources should be directed, sense would say.

      • forthurst
        Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

        That is perfectly true; however, if you take out the contribution of a particular ethnic group to the statistics then you are back to European levels of crime which is hardly surprising, is it? Sadly, nature not nurture determines behaviour.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:24 pm | Permalink


      • Cheshire Girl
        Posted August 17, 2019 at 3:36 am | Permalink

        I used to live in the USA, and yes, they do have capital punishment, but it can be up to 30 years after the crime, before it is carried out.

        It should be much more immediate, but Governments don’t have the nerve!

        • Andy
          Posted August 17, 2019 at 8:46 am | Permalink

          When we had it here it was a maximum of 90 days from sentence to rope. And until 1957 (when they created capital and non capital murder) there was only one sentence for murder.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 17, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        I don’t want capital punishment but life should mean life as they promised us it would.

        In certain areas of America we see that Broken Windows policy has been enormously successful.

        Nip the criminal tendency in the bud. Go harsh on early years minor crime and it will save a lot of pain in the future. Take charge of areas.

        Right now we have a walk-on-by attitude which is why the murder rate is as low as it is. The next generation is going to bring with it a huge explosion in murder – particularly now that murder is venerated in low places.

    • Woody
      Posted August 17, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      I cannot bring myself to approve the killing of people, even murderers, and even for murderers of our police … but a life sentence for murder should be just that, a life time. And I don’t see why it should be made a pleasant experience with comfort, TV or games … in a cell by themselves to contemplate their crime without disturbance. A life for a life.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted August 17, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

        And yet we shoot armed terrorists and people generally welcome it – I certainly do! Where’s the difference?

      • Fred H
        Posted August 17, 2019 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        so society pays all over again? Provide a length of rope and let them consider their crime.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted August 17, 2019 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        Exactly Woody – conditions do not matter if the perpetrator is not getting out. Rehabilitation is not an issue.

  3. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    I think that you speak for all normal, decent people with that comment, John.

    The rule of law is the mark of civilisation itself.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted August 17, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Not to protect the innocent law-abiding public from criminal scumbags is a dereliction of a government’s first duty to its citizens and that amounts to culpability on the part of the state.

      Bring back community policing, which is a vital source of intelligence gathering. That allows offenders to be properly identified and targeted, then get them off the streets where they can do no harm to the rest of the population.

      Criminals might be more afraid of the thought of arrest than the punishment, but that need not be the case. Every criminal has a limit beyond which they will not go. There is the level of deterrent, right there!

      It should also be incumbent upon the courts to ask a convicted offender what will actually stop them re-offending. If they can’t think of one, jail them until they can.

      The criminal justice system has allowed itself to become too damned soft, continually pussy-footing around this trash. We’ve had enough!

  4. Cheshire Girl
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    It is a tragedy, so when are the Politicians going to actually do something about it! They constantly wheel out platitudes about how our Police are wonderful, putting their lives on the line to protect us, while we wait for the next tragedy to happen.

    I reckon they could make a start by naming and shaming those who did this, however young, and please, no excuses about ‘deprivation’ !

    • Fred H
      Posted August 17, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      the police have arrested 10 males from (a ed)nearby gypsy/traveller (settlement ed)
      Will being politically correct stop Sir John including this?

      Reply It has been widely reported. No one has yet been charged with anything so lets see what emerges from the investigation.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted August 17, 2019 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      I’m right with ya!

      There has to be a sea change in the way this country is policed. It was reported on the radio yesterday that in places like Singapore, police officers are leaving the force because they have so little to do. We therefore need to ask ourselves what is the difference between their system that clearly works, and ours which clearly doesn’t?

      Perhaps they realised long ago that if they want a society truly at peace with itself, they need to eradicate the scourge of crime.

      I have warned for decades about leaving this malignancy untreated. Crime will consume us all unless we get a grip and put the right people in the right places. Liberal d0-gooders need not apply!

  5. steve
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Read about this. No justification whatsoever for these kind of acts.

    Just married as well, very tragic. They say they’ve got 10 arrested, I do hope they find the culprit.

  6. rose
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    The death penalty was reserved for murderers of policemen after it had been repealed in other cases. I now see the virtue of this which I didn’t see when I was younger.

    Married for just four weeks – utterly tragic.

  7. Everhopeful
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    I believe it is finally dawning on a lot of people that everyone…absolutely everyone will end up being adversely affected by liberal, politically correct policies.
    Two policemen killed recently.
    Utterly shocking.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted August 17, 2019 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      I so agree with that, but the realisation is very, very late. And that label ‘Party of Law and Order’ hasn’t been true for many decades now, which is a disgrace in itself. It’s more of a sick joke these days than an accolade.

  8. sm
    Posted August 17, 2019 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    We can all identify with the loss and sadness caused by this tragedy, but rather than clamours to identify the perpetrators, I think it would be more helpful to know their motivations. It seems they were all very young – what were their backgrounds that allowed them to be swept up into such senseless and uncontrolled violence? How much is due to the perpetual promotion of violence in video games, tv series and movies?

  9. Mark B
    Posted August 17, 2019 at 4:52 am | Permalink


  10. Gordon Nottingham
    Posted August 17, 2019 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    I am sure we all agree with your comments regarding the tragic death of PC Andrew Harper,
    but I think it is time the DEATH PENALTY was reintroduced, especially in the cases of Police Murder. Give us a vote NOW.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 17, 2019 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      Hand that sort of power to the madness of Westminster?
      They’d be hanging people for wrong speak.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 5:54 am | Permalink

        I think courts would be involved, not MPs determining guilt or otherwise!

  11. agricola
    Posted August 17, 2019 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    It saddens me that this policemans family and his immediate colleagues have to bare the weight of this evil crime. The responsibility is on society as a whole, because it is we who have allowed this PC world to flourish against our better judgement. A failure to be open as to the sources of these evil crimes prevents any sensible policy to deal with them. Knife crime is a classic example. There are elements on the fringe of society that have been allowed to remain outside the law. As long as this is allowed to contine, trajic events such as this policeman’s murder will repeat themselves.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted August 17, 2019 at 7:13 am | Permalink


      A very sad loss indeed, but I am afraid for many who simply ignore the law with impunity it will continue to happen and grow, until the Police and the court system are able to get a grip with some real deterrent policies.

  12. steadyeddie
    Posted August 17, 2019 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    I agree with every word of Sir John’s blog this morning but those calling for the death penalty should remember Derek Bentley and Ruth Ellis. Did not stop these terrible crimes and the failure of justice. Blaming PC is simplistic and mis guided.

    • Hope
      Posted August 17, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Twaddle. Left wing garbage. Liberalisation of criminal justice system has made this the norm. Some people are evil and some enjoy exacting violence on others. These once caught should never see the light of day.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 17, 2019 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      But we were told life would mean life.

      This is not an unreasonable demand for murder.

  13. A.Sedgwick
    Posted August 17, 2019 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Desperately sad, severe violence against front line police is not uncommon. It is a terrible reflection on the lack of discipline in our society and the stupidity of many politicians who are consumed by what most of us would regard as nonsense.

  14. Anonymous
    Posted August 17, 2019 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Life is cheap in modern Britain.

    That’s why this sort of thing happens. There is now kudos for committing murder and the baddest dude in the convict-run prison has the most power and gets the best perks when he gets there.

    The Tories have lost the plot on law and order.

    RIP PC Harper.

  15. ukretired123
    Posted August 17, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    There is no deterrent in Britain to protect the vulnerable police.
    A metaphorical big stick needs inventing!
    Incarceration is a holiday lifestyle due to prisoner’s Human Rights.
    Westminster bubble is naive on this.
    Heartfelt condolences to PC Harper’s family and all frontline response professionals who do a tremendous job despite everything. Thank you to their selflessness over many years.

  16. BillM
    Posted August 17, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    It is not just a case of a terrible tragedy it is a case of deliberate murder. I trust the judges will not act like the liberal lefties as they sometimes appear but as protectors of our Citizens and our guardians and put the guilty away for life, When life means Whole Life.
    Think ONLY of the victims and of their families rather than defending the ‘human rights’ of this low life trash.

  17. Fred H
    Posted August 17, 2019 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    So, Sir John, I am rarely disappointed in you. But not publishing facts regarding the community of males arrested shows you also fall in to the PC brigade.

    Why not?

    Reply Enquiries are continuing, no one has been charged and I do not prejudge criminal cases

    • Fred H
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 5:58 am | Permalink

      reply to reply…..I never indicated guilt – I merely pointed out which community of people were being investigated by the police, arrests of 10 males. I didn’t prejudge either!

  18. mancunius
    Posted August 17, 2019 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    I would like to send the most sincere condolences to PC Harper’s grieving widow and family, and to reassure the police that they have overwhelming majority support and sympathy for the dangerous and complex job they do.

    We all – including politicians and police chiefs, particularly the representatives of staff associations – have a duty not to prematurely judge or politicise the situation with generalisations that will only alienate support.

  19. Fred H
    Posted August 19, 2019 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Judging by the bizarre age group being held for questioning, was this a modern day Fagin’s tutorial?

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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