90 days from today is Mon, 20 May 2024
13 September 2018
Thugs who assault officers and other emergency services workers could face up to a year in prison after the Protect the Protectors Bill was granted Royal Assent.
The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill will become law in November and sends out a ‘clear signal’ that assaults will not be tolerated according to PFEW Chairman John Apter.
“This has come after an incredible amount of hard work and lobbying by us. Being assaulted – whether you are a police officer, firefighter, prison officer or paramedic – is unacceptable and the sentences should be harsher,” he said.
“Whilst we didn’t get everything that we wanted in this Bill, it is a start and a significant improvement on what we had.
“Our journey to ‘protect the protectors’ hasn’t finished – we will continue to lobby to ensure that when our members and other emergency services are assaulted, those responsible are given harsher sentences than they have in the past.”
Official figures have revealed there were more than 26,000 assaults against police officers, including British Transport Police officers, in England and Wales during 2017/18. However, that figure is thought to be much higher due to assaults being under reported.
“Steps have been taken to improve the quality of the data, however there is still work to be done to ensure that all incidents are accurately recorded so a true picture can be obtained,” John added.
“This responsibly also falls to the individual Chief Constables to make sure that all officers have the confidence – and support – to report every incident.
“Attacks on blue light workers should never be considered ‘just part of the job’ and I hope this new law will act as a strong deterrent for those who think that it is acceptable to assault police officers or other emergency service workers and appropriately punish those who do.
“I would like to extend our sincere thanks to MPs Chris Bryant, Holly Lynch and others from all sides of the political divides, as well as the House of Lords who have supported this Bill,” John added.
“We will now look to the courts to use their new powers to the fullest and provide the deterrent and protection that police, and emergency workers deserve.”