Police officer and other emergency workers will have greater protection, as a new law passes today.
Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion who has campaigned extensively for more to be done at a national level to tackle violence against the police, has backed the Assaults on Emergency Workers Bill throughout.
The change in legislation makes certain offences aggravated when committed against emergency workers, giving courts the power to impose stronger sentences, doubling the maximum sentence for an assault against an emergency worker from 6 to 12 months in prison.
In West Mercia alone, there have been 162 violent incidents against officers and staff in the last quarter, equating to almost two every day.
Commissioner John Campion said: “I have campaigned long and hard for these changes to happen, and today’s law change is a mammoth step forward for all emergency workers. I am pleased to see the government taking this seriously. Not only will it protect police officers and other emergency workers but it will act as a deterrent for those who would commit these offences.
We mustn’t forget that behind the badge, police officers and other emergency workers are ordinary people doing extraordinary jobs. Our communities have an important role to play in ensuring this is recognised and we treat emergency workers with the respect they deserve. I look forward to seeing the positive impact this legislation change will have.”
West Mercia Police Assistant Chief Constable Geoff Wessell said: “Our men and women are out in our communities day and night, often dealing with very difficult and challenging situations and putting themselves in harm’s way. They certainly do not deserve to be subject to abuse, threats or assaults and I very much welcome the additional protection that this new bill gives them.
“I can assure them, and anyone who feels it acceptable to behave in this manner towards our officers, that all such incidents are taken extremely seriously and are fully investigated so that appropriate action can be taken.”
Police Federation Chair, Sarah Cooper, said: “This represents a much needed boost to emergency workers who are subjected to horrific assaults in the line of duty while protecting the public. All too often those who assault emergency workers have faced little or no consequence for their actions. It is vital that those involved in the criminal justice system recognise that an assault of this nature should be treated as the serious offence it is, and that the available legislation is used to its maximum effect. Police Officers risk so much every day and it is imperative that they feel supported when the worst happens.”
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- In the most recent quarter (April-June 2018) there were 162 incidents of which 54 involved injuries.
- This equates to 1.8 incidents each day.
- During this quarter 89% of incidents were against police officers ( 2% against police staff, 2% against custody staff, 4% against PCSOS, 2% against Special Constabulary)
- Since April 2015- June 2018 (39 month period) – there have been 1846 violence against police incidents, of these 627 involved injury.
Issued: Thursday 13th September 2018