10 March 2021
A new Government Bill will double the maximum penalty for offenders who assault police officers and offer more protection in the courts for police drivers, a move that Cumbria Police Federation says is “great news for members”.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill was unveiled in Parliament on Tuesday.
Cumbria Police Federation Secretary Jamie McTear said he welcomed the Bill’s tougher maximum sentences for those who assaulted police officers and other emergency workers, up from 12 months to two years.
He said: “This can only be a good thing, to offer a deterrent towards officers being assaulted. Nationally we’ve seen a 14% increase in officer assaults over the past 12 months. The majority of those are Covid-related incidents. It just shows that Federation campaigning and lobbying has come to fruition, to help protect our members further in law.”
Police drivers will also benefit from the Bill, which will ensure officers are regarded as driving dangerously only if the way they drive falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful constable who has undertaken the prescribed training; or it would be obvious to such a competent and careful constable that driving in that way would be dangerous. Officers are currently judged under the same standards as members of the public.
Jamie said: “Protecting police drivers is brilliant because at the minute, until this Bill is passed, police officers who are trained to a higher standard are being compared to a confident, careful member of the public as a driver. There’s no consideration given within law to the higher standard of driving tuition that they receive.”
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill clears the way for Special Constables to formally join the Police Federation.
It will also see the introduction of the Police Covenant, which will focus on protection, health and wellbeing, and support for families.
This was great news, Jamie said: “It legally enshrines the Covenant, which is a new safeguard for officers, into the Bill, and it puts even more onus on forces to look after officer welfare and wellbeing.”
When she launched the Bill in Parliament, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “On becoming Home Secretary, I vowed to back the police to cut crime and make our streets safer...This Bill enshrines my commitment to those brave officers who put themselves in danger to keep the rest of us safe into law.”