Alison Hume, Labour candidate for North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, has called on the government to pass a law providing better protections for emergency workers. Known as Harper’s Law, the legislation would result in a life jail term for anyone found guilty of causing the death of an emergency worker whilst committing a crime.
Recent statistics reveal that on average, one emergency worker every day is attacked in North Yorkshire. The latest police figures for North Yorkshire Police show that in the last month, 36 arrests have been made following assaults on emergency service personnel. They include punches, kicks, biting, assaults with a weapon and spitting on police, fire and ambulance workers. Over the past six months, the number recorded in the county has risen by 45 per cent compared to the same period last year.
“This is utterly shocking and totally unacceptable,” said Ms Hume. “Our emergency workers should not be exposed to this terror every time they go to work. There need to be greater penalties to deter people from lashing out at our blue light workers.”
Harper’s Law was proposed by Lissie Harper, the widow of Andrew Harper, a police officer who was dragged to his death by a getaway car driven by teenagers. His killers were cleared of murder, and received sentences of between 13 and 16 years for PC Harper’s manslaughter.
“We have to do more to protect our protectors,” Ms Hume explained. “They have to know when they go to work that we have their backs, just like they have ours. We have to send out a message that there is zero tolerance for those who attack police, fire and ambulance personnel. The penalties need to be as life changing for the perpetrators as their crimes are for their victims.”