24 June 2020
Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton has welcomed the Home Secretary’s backing for increased sentences for offenders who attack emergency workers.
Priti Patel also pledged to further strengthen the protection given to police officers.
Tony said: “Policing is a dangerous and unpredictable job, and it’s essential that there is as much support for our officers as possible, and that includes more meaningful deterrents to prevent assaults.
“All too often we see the consequences of attacks on our members, and there have been times during the ongoing pandemic when the threat of coronavirus has been weaponised in attacks on officers.
“Any attack on an emergency worker going about their business is simply unacceptable and we welcome the Home Secretary’s backing.”
The Federation has long campaigned for tougher sentences on those who attack members of the emergency services. Its high-profile Protect the Protectors campaign produced a significant result with the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act, which came into law in November 2018, introducing maximum sentences of a year in prison for those convicted of such attacks.
And Ms Patel reiterated her backing for even stronger sentences during a conference call with three officers from Wales, West Yorkshire and Wiltshire, who were victims of assault, and the national Federation chair John Apter.
Ms Patel said: “Be assured you’ve got my full backing and support. Anything we can do to strengthen protection for officers is absolutely my focus – I am here to make that happen.
“I would like to give you all my personal thanks and gratitude for everything you did, as the work you do is so integral to the community.”
Along with local Federation branches, John organised the online event to highlight the need for lengthier sentences for offenders who attack emergency workers and to ensure officers who were assaulted are given the support they need.
He said: “I’m pleased the Home Secretary has taken the time to really understand the level of violence and vulnerability experienced by police officers, hearing the accounts of brave police officers who were assaulted while protecting the public.
“We hope with this welcome support from the Home Secretary we will see legislation introduced which will allow for harsher sentences for cowardly and vile individuals who assault emergency workers.”