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Force Focus - Remembering PC Jon Henry

Bedfordshire Police fell silent last week to mark the 12th anniversary of PC Jon Henry’s death in Luton.

 

Jon’s family and colleagues were among those who paid their respects at the site in Luton town centre where he was killed.

Other events were held across the force, while our flag flew at half-mast as a mark of respect.

On 11 June 2007, PC 5584 Jon Henry was brutally murdered in George Street, while responding to a report of a man attacking members of the public with a knife.

PC Henry arrived as the first officer at the scene. He immediately placed himself between the suspect and members of the public to prevent further harm and to effect the arrest of the suspect. He paid the ultimate price that day, when he was stabbed twice sustaining fatal wounds.

He left behind his wife and a daughter who was less than one year old at the time.

PC Henry’s sacrifice and those of others who have given their lives in the line of duty should never be forgotten.

Yet it is also important to remember the enormous contribution that Jon made during his time with the service.

Jon gave a life full of meaning to everyone he met. He was selfless to the end and has left an enduring legacy to us all.

In May 2004, Jon was successful in achieving an ambition to join Bedfordshire Police, an ambition he had held since being a teenager.

Leading up to his successful entry, he prepared meticulously to ensure that he would succeed. Such was his enthusiasm to join, he attended courses.

On attending one such course with his wife Mary, Jon almost encouraged her to join alongside him, such was his ability to influence anybody with pure enthusiasm and an infectious smile.

After completing his basic training in Ashford, Kent, where he was received as a popular and enthusiastic officer, he joined E Section in Luton, his home town.

He immediately had a positive impact upon the team, bringing to it his humour and determination. As his inspector, I have to say he was a natural and an officer that any would welcome into their fold.

He had an ability to motivate a team simply by his presence. Often as I walked into the parade room to provide duties and orders for the day to the team, I would hear laughter. It was always Jon who was at the centre of it, with his hand spider jokes or a quip, but who also at the same time could turn from this to an immediate sense of readiness and duty.

The morning of 11 June 2007 was no different.

Throughout his service he set about making a real difference, a difference of which his team and this force can be proud, as can the residents of Luton whom he served faithfully and bravely.

Make no mistake about it: he laid down his life so that they could have theirs. He mentored new recruits and was a natural teacher; he inspired many a student officer with his positive perspective of policing, and scores of officers with whom he has worked and influenced have spoken about the positive impact he personally had on their development.

In March 2007, Sergeant Waterman wrote on Jon’s PDR / appraisal, literally weeks before his murder, the following comments: “PC Henry is a committed member of the team who repeatedly demonstrates ability to patrol effectively. He is aware of his responsibilities and with diligence will confront and deal with criminality when it is encountered”

A fine police officer and a great man lost his life that day 12 years ago, which is why it is important that we continue to remember PC Jon Henry.

Detective Superintendent Rob McCaffray

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