Courts Must Jail Offenders For Assaulting Officers

COURTS must use their new sentencing powers to send a message that assaulting police officers is unacceptable, according to Hampshire Police Federation.

Chair Zoë Wakefield was speaking after The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act received Royal Assent – meaning the introduction of Harper’s Law and the Police Covenant.

It also doubles the maximum jail term from 12 months to two years for those who assault police or other emergency workers.

Zoë said: “The Police and Crime Bill receiving Royal Assent is very positive news for police officers. But the increase in sentencing for assaulting an emergency worker will only have an impact if the courts actually use it.

“There are far too many cases of offenders receiving non-custodial sentences or prosecutions being dropped.

“The courts need to send a strong message to those who assault police officers that it is not acceptable and they will face a custodial sentence.

“Last year, 20 Hampshire police officers were assaulted on five or more occasions. The physical injuries heal but the psychological injury is having a significant impact.”

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Act includes Harper’s Law, meaning anyone convicted of killing a police officer or other emergency worker while committing a crime will receive a life sentence. This concludes a long campaign by PC Andrew Harper’s widow Lissie.

Meanwhile the Police Covenant, which aims to provide long-term support and protection for the police family, has also been enshrined in law.

Zoë added: “I think every police officer in the country has been touched by Lissie Harper’s courageousness in pushing for this change in the law. We hope that it will never have to be used but in reality, sadly it will.

“I hope that the Police Covenant will do what it is intended to do. Time will tell if the Government is fully on board with it.”

Also included in the Bill are Serious Violence Reduction Orders, which give officers new stop-and-search powers against known knife offenders. Police will also have more powers to tackle non-violence protests and unauthorised encampments.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Passing the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act is integral to our Beating Crime Plan and delivers on our commitments to back the police, level up the entire country and give everyone the security of a safe street and home.

“This act will support the 20,000 additional police recruits that will be in place this time next year to reduce serious violence, including knife crime and domestic abuse, and make sure the very worst criminals are thrown behind bars for the longest possible time.”

Full details of the Bill can be found here:

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