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Ex-police and fire minister Sir Mike Penning backs Harper's Law

Former Police and Fire Minister Sir Mike Penning met with Lissie Harper this week to offer his continuing support to her campaign.

The MP for Hemel Hempstead has given his full backing to Harper's Law, which will mean a person found guilty of killing a police officer, firefighter, nurse, doctor, paramedic or prison officer as a direct result of a crime they have committed would be jailed for life.

This means that a life sentence would be imposed, asking for a minimum term in prison.

The campaign was started by Thames Valley PC Andrew Harper's widow, Lissie Harper, after he was killed on duty in August last year 

Sir Mike said: “Lissie has shown incredible courage and bravery and wants all emergency services workers to be protected when they go in one direction, towards danger, while the public go the other way.

“It has to be right in the forefront of the criminal’s mind that if they assault an emergency worker that they are going to be found guilty, they there is a tariff that is going to be applied to that crime, and that they will be going to prison for a long time.

“I think the public would assume that this would be the case. They would expect that those who are here to protect us would feel they have the full protection of the law. That anyone who attacks them would face severe punishments.

“But this isn’t the case.”

He said Harper’s Law would provide an “appropriate deterrent and a suitable punishment” for these criminals.

“What better tribute could there be than to help protect others and ensure there will be justice for Andrew’s colleagues across the emergency services, should the worst sadly happen again.”

PC Harper died after being dragged along a country lane in Berkley by a getaway car. He was responding to calls of a quad bike being stolen.

Sir Mike went on to say: “Nobody joins any of the emergency services to be attacked. Andrew Harper didn’t join the police to be attacked.

“But we know the numbers: Government statistics show that 84 police officers a day are injured in England and Wales. 30,679 assaults last year. There are nearly 1,000 assaults on firefighters.  On average, there are just over 200 reported violent attacks on NHS workers every day.

“They need that protection.

“All the emergency services put their lives on the line as they run towards danger. Harper’s Law would send a strong message to criminals that attacks on our emergency services heroes will have severe consequences."

Lissie has upcoming meetings with Home Secretary Priti Patel and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland as the government continues to give its support to Harper’s Law.

She said: “The support from MPs from across the House of Commons is incredibly important to me as we look to achieve Harper’s Law - and Sir Mike has been backing us from the start.

“His help and guidance – especially given his experience in the Home Office - is really appreciated."

The Police Federation is also backing Lissie's goal.

“We are in full agreement: We need strong deterrents and appropriate punishment for heinous crimes. We need to protect our emergency services heroes.”

Teenagers Henry Long, Albert bowers and Jessie Cole were cleared of murder and Long, the 19-year-old driver, received 16 years for PC Harper’s manslaughter in August this year. Bowers and Cole, both 18, were sentenced to 13 years each.

Lissie added: “I remember sitting in court when the verdict came in against those who killed Andrew and feeling totally helpless. I remember feeling so let down by our justice system and the laws that we have in place. It was then, and when it came to sentencing, that I knew that something had to change.

“The justice system is broken and it needs fixing. Together we will achieve Harper’s Law.”

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