Government support for assaults bill
The second reading of the private members' bill that will introduce tougher sentences for those who assault the police and other emergency service workers will go ahead on Friday.
And the Government has already indicated it is officially backing the bill which has been introduced by Labour MP for Rhonda Chris Bryant.
Calum Macleod, vice chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: "This is very welcome news which will be a morale boost for emergency service workers in England and Wales.
"For too long, our members and others in the emergency services have been subjected to horrific assaults, seemingly deemed 'part of the job'. Too many offenders have walked away scot free from custody and court, leaving our blue light workers with a tremendous sense of injustice. The consequences of these attacks run deep, leaving many emergency service workers with life-changing injuries, both physical and mental.
"This news means that we are moving in the right direction but there is some way to go - we need to get the bill through on Friday and the subsequent stages after that. If successful on Friday, the bill will progress to committee stage and, following that, the necessary Parliamentary time must be allocated to enact the bill. This is a big step forward but we are far from complacent.
"We extend our thanks to MPs Chris Bryant and Holly Lynch for their unending support to get thus far and to the MPs who have pledged to back the bill. It would be remiss of me not to mention our brave colleagues who have come forward to tell their stories which has helped convey the harsh realities of the job.
"We will continue to assist in this process and campaign for better protection for those in the emergency services. An assault on an emergency service worker is an assault on society itself - we must Protect the Protectors."
The bill will:
- Introduce new offences including wounding or assault when perpetrated against an emergency worker in the performance of their duties
- Compel those suspected of assault - including spitting - who may pose a health risk to undergo blood tests
- Make it an offence to refuse to undergo such tests, and
- Lay down tough sentences for those convicted of these new offences.
Chris Bryant's bill.