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Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Act comes into force

Two year sentence for assault on Emergency Workers and Harpers Law are among the changes

Effective from today, the maximum penalty for assault on an emergency worker will be two years - double what it has been previously. 

Additionally, ‘Harper’s Law’ will be brought onto the statute book, meaning that anybody convicted of killing an emergency worker whilst committ a crime will receive a mandatory life sentence. 

Other changes to the Act crack down on public nuisance - it is now a statutory offence to intentionally or recklessly cause public nuisance, and the police have been given greater powers to tackle non-violent protests which have a significant disruptive effect either on the public or on access to Parliament. 

Search warrants can now be obtained for evidence relating to the location of human remains where it is not possible to bring about a prosecution.

The courts will also see significant changes both in terms of sentencing powers and regarding day to day organisation. Maximum sentences for child cruelty offences and dangerous drivers who kill have increased, while new offences have been made of breastfeeding voyeurism (including recording images) and causing serious injury by careless driving. 

Courts are set to become more flexible travel wise, with new rules allowing them to maximise on video and audio technology as it develops, and for the first time, jury deliberation rooms will allow for BSL interpreters where relevant. 

The Prime Minister has said they are “backing the police with the powers they need to keep us safe”, while confirming the country is well on its way to the 20,000 more officers promised via Uplift in his election manifesto. 

Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said: “The laws coming into force today show the Government’s Beating Crime Plan in action and will help drive down crime, better protect victims and make streets safer up and down the country.

“We are delivering on the people’s priorities. Whether it’s tackling knife crime, violence against women and girls or anti-social guerilla protest tactics, these measures are all about backing the police and standing up for the law-abiding majority of the British public.”

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