I was sitting in the chamber of the House of Commons waiting to speak in a debate when I saw the news that PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes had been killed in a gun and grenade attack in Tameside. The two officers were answering what they believed to be a routine report of a burglary. I raised this as soon as I could and expressed the terrible sadness felt across Greater Manchester at the loss of those two very brave police officers.
I know that people across the country were horrified at these brutal murders. This shocking event also brings home just how much we rely on our brave and dedicated police officers in Greater Manchester to protect and defend our communities.
As an MP in Salford, I work closely with Divisional Police in GMP. I know from our work that there are many threats to the safety of our community which our police officers just deal with. I am grateful for the work of our police officers and I believe that they should have our support for what they do.
Our support to the police must extend to providing the resources for them to do the work they do effectively and safely. It is a real worry if cuts to police numbers mean officers may not be able to double up when needed or if it meant that backup was not available if the situation warranted it.
Respect for the work of the police must also be shown in the way that politicians, particularly at senior level, deal with them. It is not acceptable for a senior Minister to rant at the police in a foul-mouthed tirade when officers are trying to do their jobs.
The deaths of PC Fiona Bone and PC Nicola Hughes will be felt most by their families and by their colleagues in Greater Manchester Police but also by the community. At the vigil held by family members and colleagues one week after the deaths of the fallen officers, they were described as “dedicated servants committed to doing good”. We should all mourn the loss of the two officers who loved their jobs and died working to protect our community in Greater Manchester.