Officer assaults: sentence increase

Gareth Jones - Chair of Dyfed Powys Police Federation

The Government has agreed to fast-track new legislation and double the maximum jail sentence for assaulting a police officer.

The move comes after extensive lobbying by the national Police Federation and the Protect the Protectors campaign which highlighted the negative impact of assaults on emergency workers and seemingly lean sentencing.

The new maximum prison sentence for an assault will now be two years.

“This change in law has not come a moment too soon,” says Gareth Jones, chair of Dyfed Powys Police Federation, “Tougher sentencing is needed for those individuals who seem to think it’s acceptable to assault a police officer or another of our blue light colleagues while they are doing their jobs and serving their communities.

“Some officers have even been attacked while policing during the pandemic. I hope the increased sentences will be a deterrent and I hope the courts will use their power to send the message that these assaults will not be tolerated.”

More than 11,000 people were prosecuted for assaulting an emergency worker in 2019, according to Ministry of Justice statistics.

This latest change in the law will be the second in two years after the 2018 Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act increased the maximum sentence from six months to a year.

The new law will mean that when a person is convicted of offences, including sexual assault or manslaughter, a judge must consider whether an offence against an emergency worker merits an increase in sentence.