Earlier in the month two representatives for Police Care UK attended the memorial at Braybrook Street for the 55th anniversary of the Braybrook Street murders. This event is of great significance in the history of Police Care UK, as this incident helped to shape the charity’s mission we know today.
At around three-thirty on the afternoon of Friday 12th August 1966 three police officers were on routine patrol in an unmarked Triumph 2000 Q-car, call sign “Foxtrot One One”. The officers in the vehicle were Detective Sergeant Christopher Tippett Head, aged 30, and Temporary Detective Constable David Wombwell, aged 25. Driving the vehicle was Police Constable Geoffrey Fox, aged 41. The vehicle was patrolling West London and all three officers were in plain clothes.
As they turned into Braybrook Street, Hammersmith, a residential road bordering Wormwood Scrubs Prison, they noticed a battered blue Vanguard estate van parked at the roadside with three occupants inside. The vehicle had no tax disc on display, an offence at the time, and as prisoners sometimes attempted escape from the nearby prison with the assistance of getaway drivers, they decided to stop and question the occupants.
Whilst DS Head and DC Wombwell questioned the occupants, the front seat passenger produced a weapon and shot DC Wombwell, killing him instantly. DS Head and PC Fox were also shot and fatally wounded. All three officers lost their lives that day in the line of duty.
Never in the history of the Police Service had so many officers’ lives been lost in a single incident. Six hundred Metropolitan Police officers lined the route of the funeral procession for the three officers and a memorial service in Westminster Abbey was attended by many dignitaries, as well as thousands of police officers from all over the UK. More than one thousand members of the public stood in mourning outside the Abbey that day.
The public were outraged and wanted to show support to the families of the deceased officers. As a result, donations started to pour in. Following this huge public support and generosity The Police Dependant’s Trust was established to utilise funds to continually support officers injured in the line of duty, and their families. Public sympathy for the families continued to grow and the fund soon reached one million pounds.
In 2019 The National Police Fund and The Police Dependant’s Trust merged and rebranded launching on 11th February 2019 as Police Care UK. By combining funds and services, Police Care UK can now provide a more wholistic service to those harmed due to their policing role, and better support for their families. We are here for all serving and veteran officers and staff, and their families, who are struggling due to a physical or psychological injury.
Today, we continue to support all police, serving or retired, volunteers, staff, and their families, who have been harmed as a result of their policing role.
Fundraising Manager, Teri Kearsey, and Police Care UK volunteer, Clive Knight, attended the Braybrook memorial service and laid flowers at the memorial. The small, but moving service was also attended by local officers, veteran officers and family members of the officers involved.