Liasion officers make a huge difference to families of loved ones

Laura Witheridge (centre), with Simon Bailey, left, and PC David Reed (right) who received the Hanna

Laura Witheridge (centre), with Simon Bailey, left, and PC David Reed (right) who received the Hannah Witheridge Special Recognition Award PIC: Mark Amies - Credit: Archant

Most people, thankfully, will never truly know or understand the role of a family liaison officer.

But those people whose lives have been shattered by the tragic and sudden loss of a loved one can fully appreciate how these specialist officers can help shine a light even in the darkest moments.

Sadly, Laura Witheridge, whose sister Hannah was brutally murdered while on holiday in Thailand in September 2014, is one such example.

She said she remains envious of those people who have never heard of family liaison officers but said she was 'indebted' to them for their extraordinary support and care while trying to come to terms with Hannah's death, aged just 23.

She said: 'I was naïve to the significance of the family liaison role and had no idea that two of these very influential police officers were about to support my family through the most horrific time of our lives.'

She said her family were even now, more than three years on from Hannah's murder, still receiving support from these remarkable officers, including Det Con Sarah Mortimer who says she does it to try to make a difference.

Well Laura's moving and powerful words are surely testament to the fact that Det Con Mortimer and her amazing family liaison officer colleagues are making a huge difference to people's lives that will never be forgotten.