Today (29 April), National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, John Apter, held his first one-to-one meeting with Max Hill QC, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for England and Wales.
Their conversation took place online to respect Covid-19 restrictions, and was an opportunity for the Federation to make a strong case for prosecution for those who attempt to ‘weaponise’ the virus by deliberately coughing or spitting at police officers.
Mr Apter said: “It’s vital that the head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) understands, from the ground level, how important it is for individuals who assault officers to face the full force of the law. I made the point that police officers deserve just as much support as anybody else and Max Hill completely got that.”
The Director gave an assurance that Covid-related offences, from fraud - such as selling fake personal protective equipment (PPE) - to assaulting emergency workers, are being treated as a priority.
He also suggested prosecution and conviction rates for Covid-19 related offences are “very high”, and thanked the Federation for constructively engaging with the Sentencing Council. This has led to quick guidance being issued around the Covid offences against emergency workers.
Mr Apter added: “As a result of this engagement, strong sentences were put in place for those who weaponise Covid-19 in assaults on emergency workers. It is important for our members to see that justice is being done and strengthening key relationships like that with the DPP are the best way to achieve those goals.”
Earlier this month, our National Chair spoke to Sky News about the need for those who carry out Covid-related assaults on police to be jailed.