Conservatives vow to look at doubling jail terms for attacks on emergency service workers

Posted On: 
21st November 2019

The Conservatives have pledged to look at once again doubling the amount of time a person can spend in prison for assaulting emergency workers from one to two years.

Police officers outside Parliament.
Credit: 
PA Images

The party said there had been a “rising tide” in assaults on police, ambulance and firefighter staff despite last year’s bill to boost the maximum sentence for attackers from six months to a year.

They cited figures showing that crimes of "assault without injury on a constable" had gone up by 13% while those resulting in injury had leapt by 27% in 2018.

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There was also a stark increase in attacks on prison officers, while a third of ambulance staff had reported being victims of violence.

It comes despite Crown Prosecution Service guidance advising judges to treat assaults on those responding to emergencies "seriously" and to consider custody as an "appropriate starting point".

The party said it would be “irresponsible” therefore not to launch a review into further toughening up the legislation, brought forward by Labour's Chris Bryant and passed in 2018.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "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. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "I love our NHS and have so much admiration for the staff across the country who dedicate their lives to caring for us in our times of need.

"It is shocking and unacceptable that anyone would have to experience abuse and violence from those they are trying to help. So we are taking action to protect our emergency services workers and ensure that they are safe and secure at work.

"The Conservatives will always protect our emergency workers – and violence towards them will absolutely not be tolerated."