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14 November 2018
Tougher sentences will now be handed out to people who attack police officers, police staff and other blue light workers under new legislation which came into effect on Tuesday (13 November).
The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act creates a new aggravated offence of an assault against a member of the emergency services and doubles the maximum sentence for these attacks from six to 12 months.
The new law follows the Police Federation’s nationwide Protect the Protectors campaign. West Midlands Police Federation was a key supporter of the campaign and took a number of its members to Parliament to talk to MPs about the effects of being assaulted while on duty.
“We are pleased to see this new legislation in place,” says Rich Cooke, chair of West Midlands Police Federation, “It is a significant step forward and should make it clear that attacks against our members – and other emergency service workers – will not be tolerated.
“For far too long, officers have come to accept being kicked and punched is part of the job. But it should not be. Police officers are committed to serving their communities, fighting crime and protecting the vulnerable, in return they should not be seen as society’s punchbags.
“This new law sends out a clear signal that those who attack blue light workers will face tougher sentences. But there is still work to do. We need to see the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts make full use of the powers they are being given under the act.”
Last year there were 26,000 assaults on police officers and more than 17,000 against NHS staff. Assaults on prison officers are up 70 per cent and there has been an 18 per cent increase in attacks on firefighters.