Letter: Dangerous duty

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The Independent Online
Sir: The comments expressed in your article 'Pay differentials at heart of police review' (3 July) are, to say the least, extremely insensitive, given the recent incident in which two North Yorkshire rural police officers were shot many times; one, a Special Constable, was killed and the other received horrendous injuries. In contrast to the tenor of your article - 'his pressing problems are car theft, rural drunks, poachers and sheep rustlers . . .' - which seems to reflect the rose-tinted view of rural policing displayed in the TV series Heartbeat, reality in North Yorkshire is somewhat different.

Unfortunately, police in this county are, statistically, far too near the top of the national league when it comes to officers murdered while on duty. In addition to the two mentioned above, in 1982 two other unarmed rural police officers were shot and killed and, in 1977, an unarmed detective constable in 'tranquil' Richmond was stabbed to death.

I have the highest regard for the bravery and professional competence of the Metropolitan specialist firearms officers, but comparisons, similar to those made in your article, are both odious and inaccurate.

Yours faithfully,

D. M. BURKE

Chief Constable

North Yorkshire Police

Northallerton, North Yorkshire

7 July

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