Sir Tom Winsor pays tribute to police

18 May 2016

Sir Tom Winsor, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, paid an impassioned tribute to fallen Merseyside officer PC Dave Phillips – and policing in general - at annual conference today.

“Every day they [police] go out to face dangers that they can never anticipate… an angry man with a knife, acid thrown in their face, or an attack with an axe. I have enormous respect for rank and file police officers and everything they do every day, their ‘can do’ attitude…when other public services fail, the police will never say no.

“Every officer risks their life, everyone involved in the service needs to keep this in mind. I attended the funeral of PC Dave Phillips - it was perhaps the most profound experience of my life; husband, father, brother and son, only 34 years old, whose life was taken so suddenly, so violently in the line of duty. I reflected on his sacrifice and I reflected on the price that some police officers pay.

“Dave Phillips’ daughters will grow up without their father. They will be proud of their father but they will miss him every day – they will live with his memory but not his presence. This is something that everyone needs to keep front and centre of their minds as policing judgements are made.”

Sir Tom went on to call for the Federation to have a seat at the influential Police Reform and Transformation Board: "It was a mistake not to include them,” he said, and pledged support in gathering more accurate data to tackle the problems of assaults on police officers.

PC Lisa Stanhope, Thames Valley’s health and safety lead, also pressed Sir Tom on the need for proper support for police officers suffering from mental health illnesses. Sir Tom said: "There should be no stigma about mental health problems. It is often an invisible illness that only becomes apparent when officers have cracked, because they are standing on a motorway bridge, or holding a knife. There is no shame in being physically ill, and there is no shame in being mentally ill. Yes, we will take it as seriously as it deserves."