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Sussex Police Federation

Home Secretary's Covenant sends strong message to magistrates and judges, says Federation

26 February 2020

Sussex Police Federation says the Home Secretary’s promise to change the law to get stronger sentences for those who attack police officers “sends a strong message to magistrates and judges”.

Speaking to the Daily Express, the Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “We have to be very clear – to hurt an officer is simply unacceptable and if we have to change our laws to reflect that, we will.” 

She said she was motivated to push for stronger penalties following the death of PC Harper, the Thames Valley Police officer who was killed last year while responding to a burglary.

In November 2018 the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act doubled the previous maximum prison sentence for such assaults on emergency workers to 12 months. However figures show that most offenders are being let off with a fine.

Priti Patel is also launching an eight-week consultation into a Police Covenant, which will seek the views of police officers, their families and other stakeholders on how to enhance support for the police, looking at physical protection, health and wellbeing, and support for families.

Sussex Police Federation Chairman Matt Webb said: “We’re delighted to hear more words from the Home Secretary that show she’s backing police officers by increasing the maximum sentences available for those that assault colleagues across the country. The words should also send a strong message to magistrates and judges, that their previous sentences were disproportionately lenient and often failed to provide any form of either justice or deterrent.

The Police Covenant is also welcomed and will ensure that the work done by officers on a daily basis is recognised, as well as providing them with security when they find themselves in need of assistance. We look forward to seeing the detail and being actively involved in the consultation. Police officers face trauma on a daily basis and the damage this causes must be recognised.”