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PCC backs campaign for Harper's Law

  • Last Updated: 26-11-2021 at 09:11

New laws to create mandatary life sentences for the killers of emergency services workers have been backed by Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

PCC Marc Jones has backed a campaign by PC Andrew Harper's widow Lissie to introduce a new law making a life sentence mandatory for those who kill on-duty emergency workers while committing a crime.

It includes police, prison officers, firefighters, nurses and paramedics and will be applicable unless there are "truly exceptional circumstances".

The proposal has also gained support from the Government and the Ministry of Justice confirmed it would aim to pass Harper's Law in England and Wales "as soon as possible".

Newly-married PC Harper was 28 when he was dragged to his death by a getaway car in August 2019. Three teenagers were cleared of murder and instead sentenced for manslaughter.

Last year, the Court of Appeal rejected a bid by the attorney general to increase their sentences.

“The killing of members of our community whose sole focus is to keep others safe from harm is the worst of offences,” said Mr Jones.

“These brave individuals put themselves in harms way to protect us every day and we owe it to them to ensure the law does everything possible to offer the same in return.

“I hope the new law will act as a deterrent and protect lives but where it cannot we must ensure the most severe punishment is muted out to those who take the lives of emergency service workers.”

Harper's Law is expected to make it onto the statute books as an amendment to the existing Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, meaning it could become law by early next year.

In 2018 the PCC wrote to MPs supporting the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill and the  Service Animals (Offences) Bill – designed to impose harsher sentences on those assaulting emergency service workers and their support animals.

Both pieces of legislation have since been passed.