READER’S OPINION: If you meet a police officer, just say ‘thank you’

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Warrants have been issued to find three men who are alleged to have attacked five women

Court issues warrant to find men after attack on group of women

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The events in Westminster have left the country in a state of shock.

Two innocent pedestrians lost their lives alongside a brave police officer who ran towards the danger rather than away from it.

Many others were seriously injured by the car as it sped towards parliament.

What happens next?

Despite the natural tendency to adopt draconian measures against minorities, we should avoid knee-jerk responses.

All extremists, whether political or religious, tend to be in the minority.

The idiot who committed this atrocity is just one person amongst thousand of Muslims in the UK who are peace-loving and want nothing more than to live a prosperous and secure life, just like the rest of us.

Now is not the time for travel bans, clampdowns or anti-immigrant demonstrations.

We should do what we have always done in these situations – ‘Keep calm and carry on’.

If you want to do something, don’t take to the streets with placards but make a donation to the Police Dependents Trust. They will not only support the relatives and colleagues of PC Palmer who so sadly lost his life but will also be there for all of the other officers who keep us safe 24 hours a day.

Knowing that support is there should anything happen, makes it easier for them to carry on with the job they love.

I have to admit a little bias.

My father and two of my aunts were police officers.

My brother and I were both Special Constables and I am a ‘cyber volunteer’ with Hampshire Constabulary.

As I write this, my daughter is part of the crew on an LAS ambulance somewhere in London.

Her boyfriend is a supervisor in the Metropolitan Police control room.

I am immensely proud of our emergency services not just for the way in which they responded to this latest incident but for the work they do every single day.

With the advent of social media and 24/7 entertainment, community spirit is sadly lacking in society, particularly in big cities.

It is difficult to advocate talking to our Muslim neighbours when so many of us don’t even know the people next door.

Perhaps if we all just said ‘Hello’ a little more often, barriers might slowly come down.

Next time you pass a stranger on the street, give them a smile.

If you meet a police officer, don’t shout abuse just say ‘Thank You’ and be grateful that you get to go home.

*This letter was submitted to The News by Steve Morton of Portsmouth