I didn’t see Jon on the day he was killed. I didn’t make it to the morning briefing, as I was sent straight to the hospital to watch a prisoner. I listened to the events unfold on my radio. I don’t think for one minute I would’ve made any difference, but I can still hear my team mate’s voice now, that will always stay with me.
What I will also always remember is the response of the officers around us – the other sections which took on our shifts for us while E Section grieved. The officers from CID, Public Protection, Special Branch and Community who filled in the gaps as we slowly started returning to work. That gave me a sense of pride in being a Beds Police officer and I know that E Section were incredibly grateful for that.
When I joined the section in March 2007, I was young, pretty shy and naïve. At the time we were allocated mentors on section to help us settle into the fast pace of response work at Luton.
Jon Henry was my mentor. I had never met him and I did not know what to expect, but he was welcoming, friendly and made me feel at home instantly. Jon always had time for me, he was thorough, professional and had a manner which allowed people to trust and respect him. Colleagues, victims, witnesses and suspects all liked and respected Jon. To this day, I still try to adopt Jon’s approach to my work.
I only knew Jon for four months, but I was starting to get to know him and I think we would’ve been good friends, but there were people at Beds Police who lost so much more than I did. Obviously the effect on his family was even more devastating.
At the time he died I was a kid, it was one of the worst experiences I am likely to ever go through. But now I look on what happened as a man with a family of my own and it brings a new perspective for me. I want to make sure his wife and daughter Mary and Maggie know that we will never forget Jon. I am also pleased people have been able to tell Maggie what an incredible man her dad was. Life can be cruel and it is so unfair that she has had to grow up without him.
This is the first time I have ever written down my thoughts and feelings about that day, I hope it comes across with the respect that Jon deserves.
So I do this ride in honour of Jon but also in honour of all police officers and emergency service workers that put themselves on the line for others. Jon gave the ultimate sacrifice – we will never forget.
The words of PC Richard Samm who worked with PC Jon Henry, who was killed on duty on 11 June 2007. He is one of our five officers who on 28 July five will be taking to the pedals to take part in a 180 mile bike ride in memory PC Henry.
Starting at The Mall in London, the team will be escorted past Parliament by police motorbikes to mark the beginning of this year’s UK Police Unity Tour – ‘riding for those who died’.
Officers from forces across the country will be cycling to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to pay their respects to those officers who are no longer with us.
You can donate by visiting www.justgiving.com/bedsunitytour or by texting BEDS70 to 70070