Emergency services assaults Bill receives Government support

The Government has backed proposed legislation to give officers better protection from assault.

Oct 17, 2017

The Government has backed proposed legislation to give officers better protection from assault. The Home Office promised to work with Labour MP Chris Bryant on his Private Member’s Bill to ensure people who attack emergency service workers “feel the full force of the law”. The Bill, which would make assaulting police, fire and ambulance workers an aggravated offence, is due to be debated in Parliament on Friday (October 20) after receiving huge public support. It follows a campaign by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) calling on the Government to “protect the protectors”. Mr Bryant said: “The Government’s decision to support the Bill is great news for the thousands of emergency workers that have had to put up with abuse and attacks at work. “It’s thanks to their hard work and campaigning, and the 128,000 people across the country who have backed a petition to support this Bill that has brought the [Government’s support] and means we can now send a message that attacks on emergency workers are unacceptable and won’t be tolerated any longer.” Mr Bryant adopted the Bill in July after nearly a third of the 33,900 respondents to his survey voted in favour of it. He took up the campaign from Halifax MP Holly Lynch, whose attempt to introduce it earlier this year ran out of time due to the General Election. Alongside re-categorising assaults as aggravated offences, the Bill would introduce mandatory blood-testing for anyone who spits at emergency services workers in the execution of their duty. Policing and Fire Minister Nick Hurd has told MPs that the Government is “very supportive” of the proposed legislation. Recent PFEW research suggests there were more than two million unarmed assaults on police over the last year and a further 302,842 involving a deadly weapon. PFEW vice-chair Calum Macleod thanked Mr Bryant and Ms Lynch for their support and welcomed the Government’s announcement. He said: “This news means that we are moving in the right direction but there is some way to go – we need to get the Bill through on Friday and the subsequent stages after that. “If successful on Friday, the Bill will progress to committee stage and following that, the necessary parliamentary time must be allocated to enact the Bill. “This is a big step forward but we are far from complacent.” Ron Hogg, workforce lead for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said: “Emergency workers must be able to do their job without the constant threat of being assaulted. “By making these types of assaults aggravated offences, carrying tougher sentences, this Bill will act as a powerful deterrent – sending a strong message that these types of offences will not be tolerated in any way.”

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