Law to Protect the Protectors is one step closer
Police officers and emergency workers are one step closer to getting better protection from assaults after The Protect the Protectors bill passed a second reading in the House of Lords.
Metropolitan Police Federation Chairman Ken Marsh joined colleagues from Federations across England and Wales to press home the need for stronger deterrents and sentencing for people who assault officers.
They attended pre-hearing meetings at the House to ask for members’ support of the bill which aims to make assault or sexual assault against a blue light worker an aggravating factor punishable by up to 12 months in prison.
The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill, put together by MP Chris Bryant, will now move on to the Committee Stage during which the finer details of the bill will be examined.
Ken used the meeting with Liberal Democrat Peers, Labour Home Affairs spokesman Lord Kennedy and Leicestershire PCC Lord Bach to call for ‘less bartering’ by the Crown Prosecution Service on sentencing.
He also wants measures to be put in place to ensure suspects are charged with the correct offences.
West Yorkshire Police Federation Chairman Nick Smart welcomed the bill’s progress but wants sentencing for assaults on police officers upped to 24 months.
“A bill going through Parliament proposes to increase the sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years,” he said.
“We don’t think 24 months is unreasonable for somebody who assaults a police officer.
“There is support in both chambers of Parliament for this campaign, so we have to ask why the Government is trying to water down the sentencing side of the bill and remove spitting as an aggravating factor.”
The views of Ken and Nick are backed by the Police Federation of England and Wales which has added its own calls for spitting to be included in any legislation and for tougher sentences to be handed out to offenders.
Home Office figures show that 24,000 assaults on police officers were carried out in 2016/17 in England and Wales, although the PFEW believes this figure to be much higher.