WILTSHIRE Police officers and staff joined hundreds of other officers, from across the country, to take part in the 2017 UK Police Unity Tour to remember every officer who has died on duty since the British police force started.

Among those taking part were Heather and Andy Cooper, parents of PC Dan Cooper a 22-year-old Wiltshire officer who died while on duty in 2010.

PC Cooper, 22, of Westlands Lane, Beanacre, died when his car spun off Westwood Road, near Bradford on Avon, on a left-hand bend and crashed into a tree.

Over three days, 16 riders and three support crew from the Wiltshire chapter took part part in the 180-mile cycling event, which started on Friday from Wiltshire Police HQ in Devizes.

On the first day riders stopped just outside Hungerford to lay flowers to remember two officers who died on duty back in the 1800s, they then cycled on to Milton Keynes to complete the first leg, joining members from the London chapter.

On Saturday, teams headed to Drayton Manor, near Tamworth, to meet surviving families, and on Sunday the tour culminated at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire with a Memorial Service for those who have died in service and their families.

Each cyclist raised money for Care of Police Survivors a UK-wide charity dedicated to helping the families of those officers who have lost their lives on duty.

Wiltshire's Chief Constable Mike Veale, who rode again this year, said: "The death of a serving officer reminds us all of the risks and sacrifices made whilst serving in the police and this tour is a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness and funds to support the families of police officers - like Heather and Andy - who have lost their lives on duty.

"This is my third ride and each time I have found the whole experience physically and emotionally draining, and it never gets any easier – nor should it – as what we do as officers and staff is more important, more dangerous and harder than ever.

"Since the Police Unity Tour started in Britain in 2013 the support for this event has grown - now it has over a hundred riders and support crew from across the country taking part, raising tens of thousands of pounds for officers’ families."