Leicestershire  Police Federation

"Courts must consistently hand out stiff sentences to those assaulting emergency service workers for it to become a deterrent"

14 July 2020

 

"Courts must consistently hand out stiff sentences to those assaulting emergency service workers for it to become a deterrent"

 

“Only when stiffer sentencing occurs over a period of time, will it act as a deterrent to those who are violent to the very people who protect all of us.”

Plans to double the maximum jail term for criminals who assault police officers and other emergency workers to two years are being considered by the Government.

Just two years ago, a previous law change doubled the maximum term from six months to 12 in England and Wales.

Ministers have launched a consultation on the issue.

Dave Stokes, Chairman of Leicestershire Police Federation, said: “I welcome the Government’s plans to increase sentencing, relating to assaults on emergency services workers. However, I welcome the news with some scepticism pertaining to the legal system.

“I’m not convinced magistrates and Judges will impose stiffer sentencing even when they have the legislative powers to do so. Only when stiffer sentencing occurs over a period of time, will it act as a deterrent to those who are violent to the very people who protect all of us.”

Dave added: “My role as Chair of Leicestershire Police Federation is to support police officers. However what about paramedics, nurses, and doctors?

“The very people who have put their lives on the line to save the rest of us from COVID-19. If we can give anything back to them, let’s also make them as safe as we can, using the mite of the law to rid them from cowards who assault them.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said doubling the jail time to two years would send a "clear and simple message" that "vile thugs" would not get away with such "appalling behaviour".

"Our police officers, firefighters and other emergency workers go above and beyond every single day - running towards danger to protect us all," she said.

"They are our frontline heroes who put their lives on the line every single day to keep us safe, and yet some despicable individuals still think it's acceptable to attack, cough or spit at these courageous public servants."

John Apter, Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “The Police Federation has been relentless in pushing for an increase in maximum jail sentences for those who attack emergency workers.

“However, any further increases in sentencing could be meaningless without the full support of the Courts. This should include consistency of sentencing, which is not the case at this time.

“That is why the Police Federation has been working closely alongside the Sentencing Council to reform sentencing guidelines, bring these up to date, and make them fit for purpose.



“Assaulting a police officer is completely unacceptable and there must be a suitable deterrent. I accept there will always be times where an offender does not receive a custodial sentence. However, this must be the exception and not the norm.”

 

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