ANYONE who assaults a member of the emergency services can expect their sentence to be double what it was before a new law aimed at protecting members of the emergency services came into force on Thursday, (Sep 13).
It will now be a criminal offence to assault workers including police, paramedics, firefighters, prison officers, search and rescue personnel and custody officers.
The government has said that it will do everything it can to protect the brave people who dedicate their lives to protecting the public under the the new crime created by the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill.
The law’s journey as a Private Members Bill was started by Labour MP Chris Bryant. It has now been given Royal assent.
It has been widely reported that emergency service workers face violence on a daily basis whilst doing their jobs. Figures reveal More than 26,000 assaults against police officers in England and Wales and 17,000 on NHS staff recorded in past year.
Speaking about the problem and the new law Rory Stewart Justice Minister and Conservative MP for Penrith said: “Our nation only works, our families are only safe, our society is only possible, because of the courage of our police officers, fire officers, prison officers, ambulance workers, and the hundreds of thousands of people who work in emergency services. But they are facing a horrifying rise in violence. And that is why we have backed a bill to protect them.”
The MP went on to say: “We expect that there will now be 15,000 prosecutions next year for this horrifying behaviour. And we expect these prosecutions to deter anyone who considers assaulting an emergency worker. Because we owe our emergency workers the most profound debt of gratitude. They are – speaking personally – the group I am most proud of in British life. Our message to potential attackers is clear. Being drunk isn’t an excuse. Being in a hurry isn’t an excuse. Being angry isn’t an excuse.”
Speaking to Llanelli Online the Minister said: “Our emergency workers are the most courageous examples of our society, and it is unacceptable that assaults against them have risen to so disturbing a level in Wales. We cannot tolerate violence against them – this Act will protect them when they are protecting us”.