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Wiltshire Police Federation

Courts Must Use New Sentencing Powers For Officer Assaults

15 September 2020

COURTS must use the full extent of their sentencing powers to make full use of a doubling in the maximum penalty for assaulting emergency service workers.

That is the view of Wiltshire Police Federation, after it was announced that people convicted of assaulting police officers, nurses or other emergency workers will now face a maximum jail term of two years.

The change follows a Government consultation carried out over the summer.

Mark Andrews, Chairman of Wiltshire Police Federation, said: “This announcement is really good news, and something our Federation should be proud in achieving.

“What we need is for our courts to use the full limit of any new sentencing power to ensure those who think it is ok to assault an emergency worker receive a prison term.

“Only then do I believe will we see a reduction in the number of my colleagues and friends being spat at, kicked and punched just for trying to do their job.

“It should be simple – if you attack the uniform you attack society, therefore you do time.”

In 2018, the (Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018 came into force and set a maximum prison sentence of 12 months for anyone convicted of assaulting emergency workers. That followed the #ProtectTheProtectors campaign by the PFEW.

PFEW Chair John Apter added: “The Police Federation of England and Wales has been relentless in campaigning for an increase in maximum jail sentences for those who attack emergency workers, so we welcome this decision to double sentences.

“There must be a meaningful deterrent for those who attack emergency workers. This news 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 completely unacceptable. The sentences should always be a deterrent and reflect the seriousness they deserve.

“The Assaults on Emergency Workers Act 2018 was intended to protect police officers, act as a deterrent, and punish those who have no regard for the rule of law. We would now urge Magistrates and Judges to step up to the plate and dish out these maximum sentences of two years.

“The fact is attacks on blue light workers should never be considered ‘just part of the job.’ Longer sentences can therefore act as a strong deterrent for those who think that it is acceptable to assault police officers or other emergency service workers.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel added: “Our police officers, firefighters and other emergency workers are our frontline heroes who put their lives on the line every single day to keep us safe, yet some despicable individuals still think it’s acceptable to attack, cough or spit at these courageous public servants.

“This new law sends a clear and simple message to these vile thugs – you will not get away with such appalling behaviour and you will be subject to the force of the law.”

See the full story here: https://www.theguardian.com/law/2020/sep/15/maximum-jail-term-attacking-emergency-workers-doubled