Police ‘devastated and traumatised’

A forensic officer at the scene of Saturday's crash at Dale's Corner. (1202PG01)
A forensic officer at the scene of Saturday's crash at Dale's Corner. (1202PG01)

The 27-year-old PSNI officer who was killed instantly in yesterday morning’s horrific crash at Dale’s Corner in the Waterside was described yesterday by her commanding officer as “beautiful, bubbly and friendly.”

An emotional Superintendent Stephen Cargin told media gathered at Strand Road police station that Constable Philippa Reynolds had been an enthusiastic police officer determined to do her best to serve the local community. Originally from the Greater Belfast area, the 27-year-old had been a serving officer for two years, after giving up her teaching career to become a member of the PSNI.

Supt. Cargin said her colleagues, friends and family had been left devastated by her loss.

He said Const. Reynolds typified the commitment and dedication of the many young officers who put their lives at risk every day to serve the public.

He said: “She was a 27-year-old officer in the prime of her life with just two years service. She had previously been a teacher and she just wanted to serve the communities of Northern Ireland and to do her best to keep the community safe. She typified those officers who are on duty twenty four seven despite the pressures we as an organisation have been facing over the last number of weeks. She was just out there keeping people safe and serving her community to the best of her ability and just out there doing her best like her other colleagues.”

The local area commander said police at Strand Road had been shocked and traumatised at Const. Reynolds’ death but added that they were coping by continuing to carry out their duties in the face of the tragedy.

“We’re professional police officers, as you have seen over the last few weeks professional police officers doing their jobs in the face of many difficult and trying situations. This is very difficult, it’s tragic for the family. Here are two people who were in a stolen vehicle who recklessly drove through a red light and a young officer was killed along with two of her colleagues who were injured as well while she was out there serving her community.

“We’ll get on with the job, we’ll continue to do what we’re best at, professional policing and I’d encourage people to please support us. These are difficult times and we need support,” he added.

Supt. Cargin said he had met with Const, Reynolds’ relatives and that the two officers who were with her in the vehicle were extremely traumatised by what had happened.

“Her colleagues are devastated as I am as a commander, as we are as a police service. I met with the family this morning (Saturday) and they are devastated. The two officers are very shaken up and totally traumatised as her whole section were and all the officers who were on duty last night,” he said.

The local commander has appealed for members of the public to come forward with any information which could assist the investigation.

“We’re appealing to anyone with any information no matter how insignificant they think it is to contact us, we want to talk to you. These were people who were out serving their community and we want the community to please help us and give us the vital information we need to bring these people before the courts,” he said.

Police particularly want to hear from members of the public who may have seen the silver Landcruiser between the hours of 3:00am when it was stolen, and 3:30am. Anyone with information is urged to pass it to the police or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.