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Assaults bill progresses through Parliament

A bill to impose tougher sentences on those who assault police officers and other emergency service workers has moved another step towards becoming law.

MPs met last week for the committee stage of the Assaults on Emergency Service Workers Bill to scrutinise the wording of the proposed legislation.

Key clauses were amended or supported and now the bill, introduced by Rhonnda MP Chris Bryant (Lab), will have its third reading in April 2018.

The proposed legislation received unanimous support in the House of Commons on its second reading ahead of the committee stage and there is now real momentum behind it.

The bill came about after the Police Federation's nationwide Protect the Protectors campaign. This highlighted shocking statistics showing an officer was assaulted every four minutes in England and Wales.

In a bid to reduce those numbers, 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.

The latest step for the bill has been welcomed by Leicestershire Police Federation chairman Tiff Lynch who said: "This bill has support right across the emergency services. It is very encouraging to see so many MPs getting behind the proposed legislation too and pushing it through the various stages in Parliament before the details of the bill can become law.

"Assaults on police officers and other emergency service workers are not only becoming too frequent, they have also become seen as part of the job. That should never have to be the case and we will continue to drive the Protect the Protectors campaign and offer any support we can to help introduce bigger penalties for those who are found guilty of assaulting officers."