Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act: CPS must actively and robustly use new sentencing guidelines to prosecute offenders
3 May 2022
The CPS must actively and robustly use new sentencing guidelines to prosecute those offenders who assault emergency service workers, according to Cumbria Police Federation.
Paul Williams was speaking after The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act received Royal Assent – meaning the introduction of Harper’s Law and the doubling of the maximum jail term from 12 months to two years for those who assault police or other emergency workers.
Now Harper’s Law is on the statute book, 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.
Paul said “The increase in sentencing for offenders that commit these awful acts of violence is welcome news. However with the new sentencing guidelines that will be in place should come with strong expectation that they will be applied, as so far we are still seeing a low uptake of harsher penalties where assaults on emergency workers are concerned.
“It is a sad reality that in the year 2022 we are seeing an increase in assaults on our members and also an increase in the severity of those assaults, yet I still see lenient outcomes which act as no deterrent to the offenders who just go out and do it again.
“We cannot take our foot off the pedal with our campaigning around the assaults our members are facing on a daily basis. It’s not acceptable and has to stop. One assault on an emergency worker is one assault to many and it cannot be tolerated in a so called civilised society. I expect to see these new sentencing guidelines used, I expect to see the courts supporting our members who go out every day to ensure their safety, and I expect CPS to actively and robustly prosecute those offenders.
“New powers are a small cog in a large wheel and won’t necessarily protect a cop from being punched, kicked, bitten, or stabbed by a drug fuelled offender who will not have consequences anywhere near their state of mind at the time, so we also need to ensure full and meaningful after care and support is out there for our officers. It would be good to see that our officers can go out knowing they have this support and not be landed in a quick time violent life threatening situation with always that thought and fear of potential job threatening scrutiny afterwards.
“This is very much a step in the right direction and I must thank Lissie Harper for her tireless campaigning for justice, she is a true example of courage and tenacity and her work for policing has undoubtedly made a difference.”
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Act also sees the introduction of the Police Covenant, which aims to provide long-term support and protection for the police family.
In addition, Serious Violence Reduction Orders 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.”