British Police Officer Deaths 1900 – 2012

Following the awful killings of the two WPC’s in Manchester yesterday (18/09/12) I thought i’d do a little bit of research to find out how many Police Officers have died whilst on duty.

The charts below are based on this wikipedia article which only includes those Police Officers who were killed as a direct result of a crime or while attempting to prevent, stop or solve a specific criminal act. The article omits those who died in more common or regular circumstances, such as in road traffic accidents or air raids during the Second World War.

The article also omits the more than 300 officers of the former Royal Ulster Constabulary and current Police Service of Northern Ireland who were killed during The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

In total 248 British Police Officers have lost their lives in the course of their duties. RIP every last one of them.

The 1980’s was far and away the most dangerous decade to be a Police Officer with 51 fatalities. The next highest was the 1970’s with 26, followed by the 1900’s with 25, however the 1900’s don’t have any deaths which involved vehicles (Vehicle Crashes/Run Over). The first death caused by a vehicle occurred in 1921 when Sgt Ernest Crowston of Nottingham City Police was fatally injured attempting to stop a speeding vehicle. By the 2000’s 58% of fatalities involved vehicles.

(Click Charts to enlarge)

British Police Officer Deaths 1900 – 2012 By Year

British Police Officer Deaths By Decade 1900’s – 2010’s (% of total deaths)

The most astonishing reason for an Officers death was that of PC Christopher Francis Wilson of the Devon & Cornwall Constabulary, who died in 1977 when he contracted a fatal illness after he was spat on during a football disturbance. I can’t find any details on whether anyone was charged following the incident, but it just goes to show that it’s not just the obvious dangers Police Officers face.

One thing that i did notice whilst going through the information was that no Officer has died in a falling incident since 1999. I wonder if this is due to a directive from superiors or health & safety not to take unnecessary risks pursuing suspects over roofs?

Police Officer Deaths 1900 – 2012 By Reason

Whilst compiling this post & reading further into the some of the Police Officers who died whilst on duty, it does bring it home how brave the Police are in dealing with the worst side of humanity. To do this by choice as they do, is a truly remarkable gesture & shows humanity at it’s best.


P.s. I know that some people criticise the Police, and i am well aware of the mistakes, coverups and injustices people lay at the Police Services door. But I for one wouldn’t want to do their job and I appreciate their dedication to keeping the public safe.


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