Blog: Reflections a year after Westminster Attack

22 March 2018

PC Keith Palmer

PC Keith Palmer who died confronting a terrorist

Calum Macleod, PFEW Chair, gives his thoughts on the anniversary of the Westminster Terrorist Attack.

Today my thoughts are with all of those who have been effected by the devastating terrorist attack in Westminster one year ago.

March 22 is a date which will be etched on to the minds of police officers and the public forever.  It is the day a cowardly individual chose to attack the very heart of our democracy.  It is the day PC Keith Palmer was guarding the Palace of Westminster – one of dozens of officers whose job it is to protect parliament as they had done every day before – and have done every day since.  It is the day that he made the ultimate sacrifice defending the public, who he had sworn to protect and serve.  And we will never forget his bravery.

In the year that has passed the UK has suffered a series of terrorist attacks.  In each case I know of many examples of the outstanding commitment and bravery shown by our members – some of which have hit the headlines and dozens more of which have not.

Hero is an overused word. But these people really are heroes. However they don’t seek the limelight; they don’t do it for praise or adulation.  And these heroes are not only on the frontline. There is so much unseen work done by officers preventing and thwarting those who seek to attack us and our way of life.  And all do it because it is their duty. And they will continue to because – quite simply – it is what we do.

The memories of these terrible incidents will remain with each and every officer - and all the emergency services personnel and members of the public involved - and they will carry them for the rest of their lives.

This morning I heard Tobias Ellwood – the MP who rushed to help our fallen colleague and tried his best to save him – talk about the effect the incident is still having on him. He shies away from the description “hero” we will forever see him as such, and will be eternally grateful for his actions.

So on this anniversary I, and the whole policing family, once again remember and give thanks to Keith - and all the heroes who protect and serve us all every day.