Going back 10 years, I can recall vividly that I was off duty, and I received a call.
I was asked to join my colleagues in the major crime investigation team at Luton.
‘What’s happened?’ I asked
The words you never want to hear came next. The reply: ‘An officer has been murdered.’
-‘Who was it?’
-‘PC Jon Henry.’
I didn’t know Jon at all, but on arrival, I was allocated the role of OIC – Officer in the Case – and that was when I got to know who Jon really was.
As the days, weeks and months progressed, it became clear that Jon had touched the lives of everyone he met. He was loved and respected for many reasons – as a father, husband, son, brother, friend and colleague, who had an amazing career ahead of him.
I read every statement and had to watch CCTV of the horrific incident many times during the investigation.
What stood out for me is the desire Jon had to ensure those around him were protected. We all sign up with this in mind, but when faced with such danger, natural instincts kick in and people’s reactions to situations can change.
Jon immediately ran towards danger and his heroics undoubtedly protected the lives of those around him.
He should always be remembered as a totally committed police officer who understood his role and was prepared to protect others, no matter what danger he faced.
The reaction throughout our force was incredible to witness and the professionalism shown by our colleagues amongst such emotion, will live with me forever.
The sad passing of Jon touched not only the hearts of our local community but also reached out nationally.
I remember the incident room receiving hundreds of letters of support from both the public and our colleagues across the country.
Amongst them was a scruffily handwritten letter from a male who stated he was now an OAP who had been a ‘career criminal’ and spent half his life in prison. He talked about why the public should have respect for the police and how he was disgusted that a police officer should have been murdered.
Within the envelope was a £5 note and an apology from the man as that was all he could afford from his pension, but he wanted to ensure the money was passed to Jon’s family with his sympathies.
I am now in the final year of my police career, which has been a job I still find incredibly rewarding. The Unity Tour is an opportunity to remember Jon, pay respect to the service he provided and continue to support his lovely family.
Detective Superintendent Richard Wall was on the lead investigation team into the murder of PC Jon Henry on duty on 11 June 2007 and took the case file through court. Richard is one of five officers taking part in a 180 mile bike ride on 28 July in his memory.
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