Last Wednesday PC Keith Palmer along with thousands of other police officers across the country went to work to do their duty and to keep us safe.
Devastatingly, Keith Palmer didn’t return home to his wife and loved ones.
He, Kurt Cochran, Leslie Rhodes and Aysha Frade, who should have spent Mother’s Day with her children, were taken from us due to one man’s barbaric actions and his hatred. Investigations are still ongoing and I have every confidence that anyone else involved in the planning of the attack will feel the full weight of the law, which is exactly what they deserve.
The attacker’s name will be mentioned a lot in the coming weeks but ultimately his name will fade from memory and the hatred he pursued will lose. While we mourn the loss of life and honour the bravery of so many it is our unfaltering commitment to community, tolerance and respect that lives on.
It was a frightening day to be in Westminster, personally I was locked in the House of Commons chamber with hundreds of my MP colleagues, and I know from the messages I received from home in Batley and Spen it brought back the fears and anxiety of that horrible day last June.
Our reaction in the following days showed the best of British society; Wednesday brought fear, Thursday we went to work as normal and by Friday the thousands of tourists were back taking their pictures and selfies of Big Ben and our Parliament. This week planned school trips have returned to Parliament again, kids learning about our history and witnessing our country’s democracy in action, just like Batley Girls High School had done on the Monday before. This is how Batley and Spen reacted last summer too, we grieve and we mourn but we never give in to bitterness and hatred.
As I reflect on last week’s attack and the bravery shown by PC Keith Palmer, I’m reminded of the awe inspiring work our police officers and staff do day in, day out here at home.
Recently I met with a number of West Yorkshire Police officers who had been part of ‘Operation Smokeland’, an operation required after a spate of violent home invasion robberies.
Meeting the officers with me was Ebrahim Dokrat MBE who had been the victim of one of the robberies.
It was of great relief to Ebrahim and I’m sure many others that the police were there to act so swiftly to bring the perpetrators to justice.
As your MP it was a pleasure to show my gratitude to the officers for their professionalism and dedication during this operation. I’m sure I speak for everyone in our community when I thank them for their dedication and courage in memory of PC Keith Palmer.