Priti Patel is promising that a Tory majority government would launch a review into the way the criminal justice system deals with assaults on emergency workers, with a view to doubling maximum sentences. The rising number of assaults on NHS staff, paramedics, firefighters and police and prison officers has come despite the maximum sentence for assaulting an emergency worker doubling from 6 to 12 months last year. It would be irresponsible not to look at doubling the sentence again.
Home Secretary Priti Patel says:
“I’ve been appalled by the increasing numbers of assaults on our brave police officers and am not going to stand for it. Part of the solution is giving police the resources and powers they need to keep themselves safe, but we also need to make sure that the punishment for assaulting an officer truly fits the crime. I will always have the backs of the police and want to see those who do them harm behind bars for longer.”
This is against a backdrop of over 30,000 assaults on police officers last year. 20,578 were crimes of ‘assault without injury on a constable’ recorded across all forces, an increase of 13% compared with 18,138 in the previous year. 10,399 crimes of ‘assault with injury on a constable’ recorded across all forces, an increase of 27% compared with the previous year.
Last year Daniel Hilton, who bit a police officer, was the first person to be jailed under new laws to protect emergency workers. He was charged with a common assault offence under the new Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018. Under Priti Patel’s proposed new laws attackers convicted of the offence face a maximum of 12 months behind bars instead of six. It will be very interesting to hear what the Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott, thinks about the proposal….