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Harper’s Law to protect emergency workers

The protection of emergency workers looks set to become law and hand tougher sentences to people convicted of assaulting emergency workers.

The appalling killing of PC Andrew Harper in 2019, as he worked his last shift before intending to set off on honeymoon, caused public outrage and an urgent review of the law, propelled largely by his widow’s tireless campaign for justice.

The Government firmly back ‘Harper’s Law’, which has now been added to the statute book, providing ‘emergency workers’ with greater protection from violent criminals.

The new law, due imminently, will provide greater sentencing powers, including mandatory life sentences for those who kill an ‘emergency
worker’ in the course of their duty.

Mandatory life sentences will also be extended to those who commit the manslaughter of an ‘emergency worker’ on duty, unless there are exceptional circumstances not to.

For obvious reasons, the new law will not be applied retrospectively.

What is the definition of an emergency worker?

‘Emergency workers’ are defined in both the Emergency Workers (Offenders) Act 2018 and also section 68 of the Sentencing Code 2020.

‘Emergency worker’ includes police officers, nurses, paramedics, prison officers, custody officers, firefighters and National Crime Agency officers.

Those who seek to harm ‘emergency workers’ will soon feel the full force of the law.

Find out more about Harper’s Law.

Contact the Public Defender Service to instruct our criminal defence lawyers specialising in complex cases including serious violence and assault.