This week has seen a significant announcement from the Ministry of Justice about how those whose actions lead to the death of an emergency worker will be punished.
A new piece of legislation, called Harper’s Law, will be passed “as soon as possible”.
Deputy Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police, Jason Harwin, explains why this is such a major milestone.
“Every day, our officers report for duty knowing that they could be harmed in the line of duty. They do this because they feel a shared sense of responsibility to keep our communities safe from harm, and they do it willingly knowing the risks.
“But even one assault or incident of harm is one too many, and the effects can be devastating. In the tragic case of PC Andrew Harper, responding to a call in the line of duty led to his death through harrowing circumstances.
“Myself and colleagues across all police forces mourn his loss. But this week, we also share in celebration with his loved ones, whose hard work and commitment to making those who assault emergency workers pay the dearest price they can, has paid off.
“The Ministry of Justice has now announced that Harper’s Law will be passed “as soon as possible”, which will see mandatory life sentences for those who kill an emergency worker in the course of their duty including police, prison officers, firefighters and paramedics.
“Our officers and staff are here to keep you safe and to work with you in protecting communities and making this the safest place to live, work and visit. We are grateful that most of our communities are really supportive of Lincolnshire Police and work well with us, but there remains a small minority who would assault an emergency worker. This is completely unacceptable and it is definitely not part of the job.
“At Lincolnshire Police we take this extremely seriously, and we will look to prosecute those who carry out these attacks. It’s vital that we protect the protectors.
“In December last year, we and the Police Federation introduced robust measures to investigate assaults on officers, including working with the Crown Prosecution Service to press for an increased number of successful prosecutions, as well as support being available from immediately after the attack through to the completion of the court process and beyond.
“Harper’s Law is a significant new piece of legislation which complements those measures, and is an important milestone which we support wholeheartedly. We’d like to pay special thanks to PC Harper’s wife and family for making this a reality.”