90 days from today is Mon, 21 December 2020
19 September 2018
The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill has been granted Royal Assent.
The bill, which was borne out of the Federation’s Protect the Protectors campaign, makes it an aggravating factor to assault or sexually assault a police officer or any other member of the emergency services and makes that punishable by up to 12 months in prison.
The Federation would like to see the maximum sentence raised further but believes the bill sends a clear signal that assaults against blue light responders will not be tolerated.
Rich Cooke, chair of West Midlands Police Federation, said: “This is the news we have all been hoping and waiting for and, in my opinion, it is long overdue.
“This new law is there to protect the very people who, day in, day out, night after night, put themselves in harm’s way to protect others.
“The reality is I find it quite disheartening and sad that we need this sort of legislation to protect officers and other emergency service workers but it is only right that anyone who thinks it acceptable to assault them gets a tougher sentence.
“It should never been seen as part of the job to be kicked, punched, spat at or assaulted in any other way. Tougher sentences are needed to punish those who assault the police to make it clear that it will not be tolerated and act as a deterrent to others.”
John Apter, national Federation chair, has also welcomed the bill’s success. He said: “This has come after an incredible amount of hard work and lobbying by us. Being assaulted – whether you are a police officer, firefighter, prison officer or paramedic – is unacceptable and the sentences should be harsher.
“Whilst we didn’t get everything that we wanted in this bill, it is a start and a significant improvement on what we had. We welcome it but our journey to ‘protect the protectors’ hasn’t finished – we will continue to lobby to ensure that when our members and other emergency services are assaulted, those responsible are given harsher sentences than they have in the past.”