Thousands of police officers from across the country gathered today for the funeral of PC Nicola Hughes, who was killed last month.

All bowed their heads solemnly when the funeral cortege for the 23-year-old officer passed as they lined the procession route through an eerily quiet Manchester city centre.

They were joined in Deansgate by hundreds of members of the public who heeded a call from Greater Manchester Police for "decent people" to stand shoulder by shoulder with the force in tribute to PC Hughes and her colleague, PC Fiona Bone, 32.

Office workers left their desks, shops emptied and building sites fell silent in a public show of respect.

Both officers were lured to their deaths by what appeared to be a routine burglary call to a house in Hattersley, Tameside, on September 18.

Police motorcycle outriders provided a guard of honour ahead of the cortege, led by the funeral carriage pulled by six horses from GMP's mounted unit and bearing the coffin, shrouded in black cloth.

PC Hughes, from Oldham, joined GMP in 2009. Her family said she wanted to make a difference and was doing a job she loved.

Fellow officers described her as a chatterbox, always smiling, with a bubbly, infectious personality.

Officers from forces nationwide volunteered to cover the shifts of GMP colleagues so they could attend the service at Manchester Cathedral, with most of them lining the funeral procession route.

Officers from all over the UK supported the policing operation Credit: ITV Granada

Several chief constables and senior officers from forces across England and Wales were expected to be among the 1,000 mourners inside the cathedral along with PC Hughes's family and friends, and fellow officers from the Tameside division.

A big screen was relaying the funeral at the rear of the cathedral for hundreds more gathered outside.

The funeral of PC Bone will take place at the same venue tomorrow.

The six officers on horseback formed a guard of honour as the hearse arrived at the cathedral entrance.

Crowds watch as the cortege passes by Credit: ITV Granada

Spontaneous applause came from the crowd as the procession went along Deansgate until chimes began to sound from the cathedral as mourners observed a 15-minute silence.

The family of PC Hughes entered the cathedral including her mother, Susan, father, Bryn, and younger brother, Sam.

GMP officers acted as pallbearers with PC Hughes's police hat on top of the coffin which was led in to Pie Jesu sung by the cathedral choir.

PC Nicola Hughes's coffin carried into the cathedral by her colleagues Credit: ITV Granada