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13 November 2018
Norfolk Police Federation hails new law to protect Emergency Service Workers
Those who attack police, paramedics, nurses and other blue light workers will face tougher sentences thanks to a new law which takes effect today (Tuesday 13 November).
The Police Federation of England & Wales (PFEW) says this is a significant win in its high profile campaign to ‘Protect the Protectors’ but there is still work to do.
On Tuesday 13 November the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act comes into law, having received Royal Assent in September.
It creates a new aggravated offence of an assault against a member of the emergency services and doubles the maximum sentence for these cowardly and despicable acts from six to 12 months.
In 2016/17, (1/4/16 to 31/3/17) 390 Norfolk officers were assaulted.
In 2017/18, (1/4/17 to 31/3/18) 515 Norfolk officers were assaulted, which represents an extra 125 officers assaulted and equates to a 32% rise from 16/17.
Of the 515 assaults, 383 were assaults that left no injury. 132 assaults caused injuries. Within the 132 it includes 113 offences of ABH (actual bodily harm). 19 offences of malicious wounding/ GBH (grievous bodily harm) with minor to serious wounds.
Andy Symonds, Chair of Norfolk Police Federation (NPF) hopes the new legislation will act as a deterrent and provide the justice for our officers, paramedics, firefighters and other public servants. It sends a clear message that assaults against our public servants are wholly unacceptable and an attack on society itself.
Andy Symonds, says: “This change in law has been a long time coming for the officers I represent. Norfolk officers are facing unprecedented levels of violence against them, so the least the law and in turn the courts can do is protect them”
Andy Symonds, continued “I along with officers and their families are simply fed up of their loved ones returning home with injuries having been assaulted at work. Then when the case reaches court, the sentences handed down offer no deterrent. I hope that this legislation sends a clear signal to our Magistrates and Judges that as a society we have allowed a culture to develop that it is acceptable to assault an emergency worker. Let me be clear, it is not, I expect that we now see stronger sentences that act as a deterrent””
“I acknowledge that we did not get everything we wanted from this new act – I feel sentences are still not as strong as they need to be – this is a significant step forward in the right direction and myself and colleagues around the country will continue to make the case for a stronger deterrent, for a wider roll-out of Taser, and to continue to call for more central government funding to allow the recruitment of more police officers to replace the 21,000 we’ve lost”
The Police Federation of England & Wales (PFEW’s) Protect the Protectors campaign was launched at Parliament in February 2017 in connection with a Ten-Minute-Rule Bill introduced by Halifax MP Holly Lynch. She had joined PC Craig Gallant on patrol in West Yorkshire in summer 2016 and had dialled 999 after witnessing the single-crewed officer being surrounded by a hostile crowd.
The General Election brought the Bill to a premature end, but Labour MP for Rhondda, Chris Bryant, picked up the baton. The Federation is grateful that his Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Private Members Bill received universal support to become law.
Our campaign has also benefitted from the backing of the Prisoner Officers’ Association and British Transport Police Federation as partners.
Last year, nationally there were 26,000 assaults on police officers and over 17,000 against NHS staff. Assaults on prison officers are up 70% along with an 18% increase in attacks on firefighters. This is not and should never be regarded as part of the job.
Chris Bryant MP said: “The growing tide of attacks on emergency workers – including ambulance workers, NHS staff, fire officers, prison officers and police – is a national scandal.
“All too often attackers get away with little more than a slap on the wrist. I hope this new law will help put a stop to that attitude. An attack on an emergency worker is an attack on all of us and attackers should face the full force of the law.”
Please feel free to embed or share our video timeline - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0TUaPW4nnw&feature=youtu.be
And reaction from Chris Bryant MP - https://youtu.be/wtFr5r3tbMg