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Home Secretary to meet PC Harper’s widow to discuss law change

Meeting arranged for early September as Harper’s Law petition reaches 500,000 signatures

Lissie Harper the widow of PC Andrew Harper will have a meeting with Home Secretary Priti Patel in early September to discuss her Harper’s Law campaign which seeks to provide guarantees that offenders who kill emergency service workers receive a life sentence.

At the meeting Lissie is also expecting to share her proposals for Harper’s Law with Justice Secretary Robert Buckland.

As is stands the Harper’s Law petition is set to reach the 500,000 signature mark this week.

She said: “We are delighted that the Home Office have been in touch to arrange the important meeting with Home Secretary Priti Patel. This is vital and it’s urgent.

“Our justice system is broken. And we need Harper’s Law to help fix it. I have witnessed first-hand the lenient and insufficient way in which the justice system deals with criminals who take the lives of our emergency workers.

"We need Harper's Law to give the ultimate protection to our emergency services workers. They run towards danger to protect the public from harm. They go out every day and risk their lives to protect us. They deserve the ultimate protection in return.”

Lissie added: “We clearly have the backing of hundreds and thousands of members of the public in our campaign and I am stunned, delighted and incredibly thankful to every single person who has signed our petition www.change.org/HarpersLaw and given us their backing.

“Now equally politicians who are there to represent us all in our Parliament must sit up and take note. That’s MPs from all parties and the Home Secretary and Justice Minister. And I will be making this clear to them when we meet.

“We don’t just need warm words, we need action.”

Lissie, 29, is calling for all offenders convicted of killing a police officer, firefighter, nurse, doctor, prison officer or paramedic to be jailed for life.

She is being supported by the Police Federation of England and Wlaes.

This week she wrote to representatives from the Fire Brigades Union, The Prison Officers Association, Unison, Unite, The Royal College of Nursing, The British Medical Association and the GMC seeking to meet with them to discuss her plans for Harper’s Law.

The campaign has secured the backing of some high-profile MPs, including former Police Minister Sir Mike Penning, Giles Watling and Philip Davies and Lissie said she is determined to secure more support from across the House of Commons.

In a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel – sent earlier this month - Lissie stated: “I feel so keenly the sting of never being able to bring my husband back, this is something that will continue to haunt me for the rest of my life. However, what I do hope to make changes to is the way in which the police and of course all other front-line workers are protected and supported as they protect us.

“My focus from now on is to put all of my energy and efforts into creating Harper’s Law.

“I know that there may be some difficulty in mandating an automatic life sentence but I would like to have this conversation with you so we can explore what we can achieve."

Newly married Thames Valley Police PC Andrew Harper was killed on 15 August last year by Henry Long, Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole. All three were convicted of manslaughter last month but cleared of murder.

Long was jailed for 16 years and Bowers and Cole for 13 years. The Attorney General has referred the sentences of PC Harper's killers to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme.

They are appealing against the convictions and are reportedly planning to write a book about the case.  

PC Harper’s Thames Valley Police Federation colleague Sgt Andy Fiddler, who has been supporting Lissie since his death in August last year, said: “To reach the 500,000 signature mark on the Harper’s Law petition is incredible and we thank everyone who has signed it. It sends a clear message to politicians from their voters that they must take action.”

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