Tributes flood in for 'true hero' and former Bromley cop PC Keith Palmer killed in Westminster terror attack
PUBLISHED: 12:15 24 March 2017 | UPDATED: 12:15 24 March 2017
The 48-year-old father and husband died on Wednesday)
The police officer killed in Wednesday’s Westminster attack served in Bromley for seven years, it has emerged.
PC Keith Palmer joined the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command in April 2016 and before that was in the Territorial Support Group (TSG), based at Catford but patrolling and working across London.
Prior to the TSG, he was based on Bromley borough between 2002 and 2009.
Tributes have poured in for the 48-year-old father and husband - and Charlton Athletic season ticket holder - after he was stabbed to death in this week’s terror attack.
One former policewoman said her life had been saved by Pc Palmer during his time at Bromley police.
Giving her name only as Nina, from Orpington, south-east London, she told radio station LBC: “He actually did save my life in a car accident on duty.
“I was a police officer at the time, in 2007. I had a car accident on duty. I was the passenger and he was one of the police officers who actually saved my life.
“I owe him everything. He was a wonderful dad and wonderful husband to his wife and everything.”
A statement from his wife and five-year-old daughter said: “Keith will be remembered as a wonderful dad and husband. A loving son, brother and uncle. A long-time supporter of Charlton FC.
“Dedicated to his job and proud to be a police officer, brave and courageous.
“A friend to everyone who knew him.
“He will be deeply missed. We love him so much.
“His friends and family are shocked and devastated by his loss and ask that they are left to grieve alone in peace.”
PC James Aitkenhead, who worked alongside him in the TSG, said: “Keith was a genuinely nice person; nobody had a bad word to say about him. When I heard what had happened I knew it would be him because that’s just the sort of guy he was, to step straight in when others might step back.
“He had a great work ethic, he worked on our warrants’ car for years, getting up at 4am to serve warrants and arresting wanted offenders.
£He was always so positive, always staying late after everyone else and getting in early.
“In his personal life he was a massive Charlton Athletic fan and had a season ticket.
“We will miss him so much.”
PC Palmer was nominated in 2015 for best thief taker in the Commissioner’s Excellence Awards, having made more than 150 arrests in 12 months.
Inspector Mark Turner, from the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, who most recently worked with him, said: “He really was a solid reliable member of the team - he came in and just got the job done, quietly and efficiently.
“He was a fantastic member of staff and will be sorely missed.”
As a mark of respect his shoulder number - 4157U - will be retired and not reissued to any other officer.
Bromley and Chislehurst MP Bob Neill, who had entered Parliament to vote seconds before the attack, added his own tribute to the brave police officer.
“I’d seen him at Westminster more than his time in Bromley, but he was a truly dedicated, professional and well-liked police officer.
“He served his country in a number of ways really, spending time in the armed forces. It’s desperately sad and my thoughts go out to all of his family.
“This just proves the importance of our emergency services to keep us all safe.”
Speaking in Parliament the day after the incident, his former colleague, Conservative MP James Cleverly, paid a tearful tribute to the man he met 25 years ago as part of Battery 100 Regiment, Royal Artillery.
He said: “He was a strong, professional public servant and it was a delight to meet him again only a few months after being elected.”
Pc Palmer served as a reservist from August 1987 to August 2001, leaving as a bombardier, and had 15 years of service as a police officer.
Charlton Athletic said: “Keith was a familiar face at The Valley to many supporters and sat in his same East Stand seat for many years.
“As an immediate tribute, a red and white scarf has been placed on his seat which will remain until the next home game on Tuesday April 4, while the club will discuss ways in which it can commemorate his life at the game itself.
“Keith was a true hero who will be greatly missed by all the Charlton family, and everyone at the club would like to offer their sincere condolences to his family and friends at this extremely difficult time.”
Fellow supporters, colleagues and politicians also paid tribute.
One wrote on forum Charlton Life: “Reading these comments has made me well up and I don’t do emotion. Keith was a true gent and has died a hero RIP Mate. You’ll be sorely missed in our little East Stand huddle.”
Halebank parish councillor Kieran Reed told the Press Association: “He made Parliament human and the security services interactive and always remembered me. It was like talking to a friend.”
Scotland Yard’s leading anti-terror officer Mark Rowley said: “He was someone who left for work today expecting to return home at the end of his shift - and he had every right to expect that would happen.”
Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins wrote: “RIP PC Keith Palmer, brutally murdered today carrying out his duty helping to protect Parliament and the freedom of our Country.”
The Metropolitan Police Federation said: “PC Keith Palmer. Our brave Met Police colleague who today made the ultimate sacrifice #LestWeForget.”
Braintree MP Mr Cleverly called on his friend to be given posthumous recognition for his actions.
Prime Minister Theresa May responded: “Having served in our armed forces and then come here to this place and paid the ultimate sacrifice here at the heart of our democracy, I can assure (Mr Cleverly) that the issue that he’s raised is of course one that will be considered in due course.”