21 November 2019
The National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales has welcomed an announcement by Home Secretary Priti Patel which could hand two-year jail sentences to violent offenders who attack police officers.
A Conservative majority government would launch a review into the way the criminal justice system deals with assaults on emergency workers, with a view to doubling maximum sentences. The Home Secretary pledged at the Police Federation of England and Wales’ Centenary Event in London today to begin a consultation process on the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018, which could double the current maximum sentence of 12 months.
The Act was introduced in November 2018 following the Federation’s successful Protect the Protectors’ campaign which called for a two year sentence where assault or battery was committed against a colleague.
John Apter, National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, responded positively to the Home Secretary’s Keynote Speech at the Methodist Central Hall event, which was attended by more than 650 delegates from across England and Wales.
He said: “The Home Secretary’s announcement was very welcome indeed as the Federation’s policy is that any violent offender who attacks a police officer should be given the harshest of sentences. We campaigned for a two-year sentence and are pleased that this news is in line with our thinking.
“Our ‘Protect the Protectors’ campaign was important in securing a welcome and much needed change in the law last year, which rightly made the crime of assaulting any emergency service worker an offence.
“We need a concerted effort to make sure those who choose to attack police officers are dealt with appropriately by the courts, and officers need to be fully supported to report every incident where they are attacked.”
The consultation would aim to ensure the entire criminal justice system has the resources and capabilities it needs so would perpetrators face justice, and is a response to the rising tide of assaults on police officers.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "I've been appalled by the increasing numbers of assaults on our brave police officers and am not going to stand for it.
"Part of the solution is giving police the resources and powers they need to keep themselves safe, but we also need to make sure that the punishment for assaulting an officer truly fits the crime. I will always have the backs of the police and want to see those who do them harm behind bars for longer.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock added: “It is shocking and unacceptable that anyone would have to experience abuse and violence from those they are trying to help. So we are taking action to protect our emergency services workers and ensure that they are safe and secure at work.”