Cleveland Police chief backs life sentences for emergency service killers
Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Steve Turner has backed plans to introduce mandatory life sentences for the killers of emergency service workers.
The Ministry of Justice aims to pass Harper's Law in England and Wales "as soon as possible" – meaning mandatory life sentences for those who kill on-duty emergency workers while committing a crime.
The law will cover police, prison officers, firefighters, and paramedics. It will be applied unless there are "truly exceptional circumstances".
Backing for the law follows a long and passionate campaign by Lissie Harper, the widow of Police Constable Andrew Harper.
Newly-married PC Harper was 28 when he was dragged to his death by a getaway car in August 2019. Three teenagers were jailed for manslaughter after the incident.
His widow Lissie said she was delighted by Government backing for the law.
Cleveland PCC Steve Turner said: “I welcome Government backing for this new law, which could be introduced in the next couple of months.
“Harper’s Law shows support for our brave police officers and the invaluable work, which they do every day, to keep our communities safe.
“It recognises the risks they take and the sacrifices, which they make, to protect people and property across Cleveland and to uphold the rule of law.
“We need to send the message that attacks on our officers will not be tolerated.
“Tougher sentencing should mean greater respect for our officers and the work, which they do.”
There were approximately 10,000 convictions for assaults on emergency workers last year across England and Wales.