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Sussex Police Federation

Federation Chair: Those who assault police officers should expect to go to prison

14 July 2020

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.

Matt Webb, Chairman of Sussex Police Federation, said: “The consultation put out by the Government is excellent news and further underlines the change in attitude towards policing. It demonstrates how the Police Federation have managed to changed how assaults on Police are viewed and should be dealt with.

“Offenders who assault police officers should expect to go to prison as an assault on an officer is an assault on society.”

Matt added: “This now MUST be followed up with further guidance to the Courts in relation to sentencing to prevent those who assault police officers from walking out of court with little more than a ‘slap on the wrist’.”

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.”