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Scotland urged to create its own Harper's Law

The Scottish government has been urged to protect officers with its own version of Harper’s Law.

Scotland’s politicians have been lobbied by two policing widows to toughen legislation for officers killed on duty.

Scotland has been urged to follow the example of England and Wales by creating a separate offence for cases where a police officer has been murdered on duty.

The call was made by the widows of two police officers who died while attempting to make arrests.

Christine Fulton and Lissie Harper called on the Scottish government to create a new offence in line with new laws set to be created in England.

Currently, the option of a murder charge is available but a new offence would need to be created under the equivalent Scottish law of culpable homicide.

The move isn’t a huge departure, Scotland led the way by creating the assaults on emergency workers legislation in 2005 which was adapted for England and Wales.

It’s a critical issue for Police Scotland which has recorded a huge increase in assaults on officers during the last five years – and is under pressure from frontline staff to take action.

Christine Fulton is the co-founder of UK Cops, the welfare charity, and the Scottish Police Memorial. She began her charity work after her husband PC Lewis Fulton was killed on duty in 1994 while attempting to make an arrest.

She has joined forces with Lissie Harper, whose husband Andrew was also killed while on duty in 2019.

They met at a police charity event and immediately saw the need for a potential loophole to be closed.

Mrs Fulton told local media: “Our emergency workers are not given the respect they deserve through the courts. I have been saying this for the past 27 years. They go out and do a job that nobody else does. But they are not treated any differently under the law. That, to me, is not fair or appropriate.”

She added: “Now that Harper's Law is going through in England and Wales, it's time for Scotland to step up to the plate.

“If you go out and deliberately kill an emergency worker, you must pay the penalty and that should be life.”

Her campaign has already gained the support from the Scottish Police Federation.

Chairman David Hamilton said: "If legislation was able to come forward and the barriers such as ECHR [the European Convention on Human Rights] could be overcome, then of course it's something we would welcome.

"Taking of a police officer's life is one of the most serious crimes that society can deal with, and if that doesn't merit some kind of mandatory sentence then I don't know what does.”

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