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NPCC backs Harper's Law

The National Police Chiefs’ Council is backing Harper’s Law following a meeting with chair Martin Hewitt and Lissie Harper.

NPCC Chairman Martin Hewitt met with Lissie Harper, whose husband PC Andrew Harper was killed on duty. She is campaigning for Harper's Law that would mean a life sentence for anyone who kills an emergency services woker while they are on duty.

Also there to lobby for the change was Andy Fiddler from Thames Valley Police Federation.

Mr Hewitt said: “We discussed the detail of the proposed legislation and the work that is being undertaken within the Home Office and Ministry of Justice to progress drafting.

“It was positive to learn of the cross-party and cross policing support that exists."

He went on to say: “Every day, police officers and staff are out in communities keeping people safe, protecting the vulnerable, and dealing with crime and criminals.

“In doing so, they will often place themselves in harm’s way to do their duty, and tragically, as we have seen again in recent weeks, that can result in the ultimate sacrifice.

“Those officers and staff deserve the full protection of the criminal justice system, and I support Lissie in driving the consideration on how best this can be achieved.”

Lissie said: “The National Police Chiefs’ Council are clearly an important and influential group, representing Chief Constables across the country.

“They have the ear of politicians and the Home Secretary, and so it was really great to meet with Martin Hewitt and talk to him about the plans for Harper’s Law.

“It was a really positive discussion, and we were happy to explain to Martin what Harper’s Law will be and why it is needed to protect our emergency services heroes.

“It’s great to hear he is backing our campaign and that he was happy to help and offer support in the future.”

Thames Valley PC Andrew Harper died when he was dragged behind a car as he tried to stop a quad bike theft in Berkshire in August last year.

The driver of the car, Henry Long, 19, and his two passengers Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole, both 18, were cleared of murder and found guilty instead of manslaughter.

Long is set to appeal against his 16-year sentence, while Bowers and Cole are appealing against both their convictions and 13-year sentences.

But following a referral by the Attorney General, Court of Appeal judges will also consider whether the jail terms were too lenient.

This week at the Conservative Party Conference Home Secretary Priti Patel reaffirmed her commitment to working with Lissie Harper to achieve Harper's Law.

Ms Patel - who met Lissie in September and is scheduled to meet the campaign team again later this month - told the virtual conference that she will continue to work with Justice Secretary Robert Buckland and Lissie "to ensure anyone that kills an emergency worker gets the sentence they deserve".

Lissie said: “Having the vocal support of the Home Secretary for Harper’s Law is truly appreciated. She shares my revulsion at those who think they can get away with despicable crimes against our emergency services heroes.

“Having the support of the Government and those on Opposition benches means that if we all work together we can achieve Harper’s Law, which would be a fitting legacy to Andrew.”

The campaign has cross party support as the Labour Party has agreed to work with the Home Office and Government civil servants on the details of the Harper’s Law plans. A meeting with the Liberal Democrats is also upcoming.

Lissie also met with Conservative MPs yesterday, including Dr Kieran Mullan, MP for Crewe and Nantwich Sarah Dines, MP for Derbyshire Dales, where they discussed Harper’s Law.

Lissie's campaign has the backing of the Police Federation of England and Wales, the Police Superintendents' Association and The Prison Officers' Association.

She will meet with the Fire Brigades Union this week and a meeting with the Royal College of Nursing is also planned.

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