PC Fiona Bone and PC Nicola Hughes
Tributes have been pouring in after two female police officers were killed when they responded to a routine police call in Greater Manchester.
PCs Fiona Bone, 32, who had five years’ service, and Nicola Hughes, 23, who had served for three years, both of whom were unarmed, were attending a call in Hattersley, Tameside, on Tuesday when shots were fired and a grenade was also thrown. One of the officers died at the scene, while the second officer died later in hospital.
Sir Peter Fahy, Greater Manchester Police chief constable, said: “We are devastated at the loss of two of our officers. This is one of the darkest days in the history of Greater Manchester Police, if not the police service overall.”
Shortly after the incident Dale Cregan handed himself in at a police station in Hyde. He was arrested on suspicion of the murder of a police officer as well as on suspicion of two counts of murder in relation to the killings of a father and son, who died in separate attacks earlier this year.
Sir Peter added that police believe the 29-year-old suspect has been protected by a criminal conspiracy to harbour him and that officers are “absolutely determined to investigate this conspiracy and bring the people involved to justice”.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) said the entire service was at a loss.
Sir Hugh Orde, ACPO president, said: “The death of two female police officers in Greater Manchester is deeply sad news for the police service. The two unarmed officers were responding to a routine call when faced with a dangerous and deadly situation.
“Whenever police officers and staff lose a colleague that loss is felt right across the police family. The thoughts of everyone in policing are with colleagues in Greater Manchester Police, family and friends of the two officers at this time.”
The Police Superintendents’’ Association of England and Wales (PSAEW) also paid tribute and said the deaths are yet another example of how police officers risk their lives to protect the public.
Derek Barnett, president of the PSAEW, said: “Today once again we have seen how police officers pay the ultimate price in losing their lives to protect the public. Whilst we still don’t know the full circumstances, this tragic situation demonstrates the uniqueness of the office of constable, a duty not to walk away from danger. It also serves as a reminder of the risks that officers face on a regular basis. At the beginning of their tour of duty these two officers would have had no idea what lay ahead of them.
“I’m sure few words will offer true comfort to the families, colleagues and friends at such a difficult time, but our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) said the “devastating news” is a reflection of the very real dangers police officers face every day serving their local communities.
He said: “These extremely courageous officers have sadly paid the ultimate price for their selfless actions and no words can express our regret nor comfort to their families. The entire police service throughout the UK mourn their loss.
“I know that my colleagues in Greater Manchester Police Federation will be doing everything they can to offer support and counsel to the relatives and colleagues of these brave officers.”