Victoria Atkins MP praised the bravery of the emergency services and backed tougher sentencing during the recent first debate on the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill.
Mr Atkins praised Lincolnshire Police for prosecuting successfully the largest ever modern slavery case this summer, and cited it as an example of the bravery officers must show in the course of their work.
She also raised the need to protect LIVES responders who are often the first people on the scene, and this legislation will protect such volunteers as well.
The Louth & Horncastle MP summed up by quoting a constituent who works for Lincolnshire Police, who had told her: “We deserve to be able to go home to our families and not be injured or worse.”
The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill would create a statutory aggravating factor, meaning that when a person is convicted of a specific offence, the judge would have to consider the fact it was committed against an emergency worker as an aggravating factor in determining the sentence within the maximum allowed for the particular offence. This will cover assault causing ABH, wounding or inflicting GBH, and manslaughter.
Separately, the Bill will create a new aggravated version of the offences of common assault and battery when committed against an emergency worker, for which the maximum allowed for common assault will be increased from six months to 12 months.
The Bill will cover emergency workers including police, prison officers, custody officers, fire service personnel, search and rescue services, and certain healthcare workers including ambulance personnel.
After the debate, Ms Atkins said: “The Bill will give police and the courts the powers they need to deal effectively with those who use violence against our hard-working emergency workers.”