I always feel ever-so-slightly uncomfortable at what I call 'Headline-Driven Prayer'. Redeeming Our Communities is based in Manchester so it's perfectly understandable that they should feel particularly concerned in the deaths of these two police constables, and equally understandable that their other branches across the country should also feel involved. But being asked to pray about a specific event, however unhappy, in which I or my community aren't directly implicated makes me wonder about all the other equally unhappy events and situations we are not asked to pray for because the news media haven't seen fit to pay as much attention to them. I know who our own local police in Swanvale Halt are, and pray for them, regularly, by name. I meet them and talk to them in the street. But we can't pray for everybody, and I don't really wanto to make the media my filter as to what I should or shouldn't pray for. This is quite apart from the uneasy sense that the awful deaths of two public servants is, rather nastily, a flag issue in the police's quarrel with the government over pay and conditions.
That line about the police's 'darkest day' made me wonder how many other police die in the line of duty, because I had no idea at all. Helpfully Wikipedia tabulates the information here, and I'm not even the first person to have had the thought, as this gentleman has analysed the figures. It didn't surprise me to learn that there's already been a police officer killed this year: Ian Dibell was shot in Clacton apparently after intervening in a row, though he happened to be off duty at the time.
The figures are actually rather interesting. Although the table is slightly questionable because it comprises all deaths of police officers resulting from their criminal work, including situations in which the criminals concerned didn't actually intend to kill them, there were three peaks in danger if you were a copper: the years between 1900 and World War One (which confirms my impression that this was a remarkably violent era in British history though nobody seems to talk about it much), a minor blip upward in the mid-1950s, and the height of Fatcher's Britain when, between 1981 and 1985, no fewer than 32 police officers were killed, followed by 18 between 1986 and 1990. The current state of things is actually comparatively quiet.
To find the last occasion when two PCs died in the same incident you only have to go back to 2002 when two Leicestershire officers were killed in a car crash, with a parallel event in December 1984. Admittedly none of those were shot in cold blood; but three officers died in the Harrods bombing in 1983; three were shot in the Shepherd's Bush Murders in 1966; two were shot in West Yorkshire in 1951 attempting to arrest a robber; two were killed by the landlord at a pub in Bedlington in 1913; and finally three died in the Siege of Sidney Street in 1910.
A surprising number of police officers in the early years of the last century 'collapsed and died during an arrest', an event which hardly ever happens now (although all these events hardly ever happen); perhaps the police are fitter now or maybe this reflects the fact that they go about on foot less. The most bizarre death was that of PC Christopher Wilson of the Devon & Cornwall Constabulary, who 'contracted a fatal illness when spat upon during a football disturbance' in 1977.
Anyway, pray for the people you know and the situations you have contact with is a rule I tend to follow. That way you're not responding to the media's assessment of who deserves your sympathy most.