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Tougher sentences for attacks on blue light workers welcomed

Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping today voiced his approval to a new law doubling prison terms for those who attack emergency services workers.

The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill, which received Royal Assent yesterday (13 September), creates a new offence of assaulting an emergency worker and doubles from six to 12 months the prison sentence for those who break the law.

The new legislation will come into force in November and covers a whole range of emergency workers including police officers, firefighters, paramedics and search and rescue workers as well as prison officers and some emergency services volunteers. 

It will also ensure judges consider tougher sentences for a range of other offences including GBH and sexual assault if the victim is an emergency worker.

Commenting on the new law, Mr Tipping said: “Every day police officers and other emergency workers are being attacked, spat at and injured simply for doing their job.

“Violence should never be accepted or tolerated as an occupational hazard. Our blue light workers have the same rights to safety and respect as us all and it’s only right that we show our gratitude for the risks they face with additional protection in law.

“Emergency workers are professional people who should be able to do their job without fear. I hope this new law serves as a warning to anyone tempted to cross that line that there are stiff penalties.

“I also hope it encourages more officers to report attacks against them knowing the law fully supports and respects their contribution to public safety.”

Home Office figures show 26,000 assaults on police officers were recorded in the past year while NHS workers suffered more than 17,000 attacks.

Assaults on prison officers rose by 70% in the three years to June 2017 while there was also an 18% increase in attacks on firefighters during the past two years.  

Chris Bryant MP, who laid the Private Members Bill, said: “The growing tide of attacks on emergency workers – including ambulance workers, NHS staff, fire officers, prison officers and police – is a national scandal. All too often attackers get away with little more than a slap on the wrist.

“I hope this new law will help put a stop to that attitude. An attack on an emergency worker is an attack on all of us and attackers should face the full force of the law.”

Ends

Media enquiries:  Sallie Blair, 01283 821012 / 07702 541401

Posted on Friday 14th September 2018
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