I have written to the Home Secretary, Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, to ask her to consider introducing minimum sentencing for those who attack our police forces.
In recent months, I have met with members from the West Yorkshire Police Federation to discuss the increasing trend of assaults on police officers. Every week in West Yorkshire there are between 30 and 50 assaults on Police staff alone. Two weeks ago West Yorkshire Police officers got attacked and their vehicle burned in the Halton Moor area of Leeds. This cannot continue.
Since the introduction of the ‘Protect the Protectors’ Legislation (The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill) in November 2018, there has been little to no difference in the number of assaults. The legislation has not been the deterrent that the Police forces had hoped for and deserve. The question therefore arises for those of us with the capability to make a difference: what could be a true deterrent to assaults?
This ambitious and reforming Government has the opportunity to look abroad in order to replicate best practice and end this appalling trend. For example, in Australia the Cabinet to the Victoria Government agreed to have all attacks on first responders and prison staff that resulted in injury classified - without exception- as a category-one offence. This requires the court to impose a custodial sentence. So far, the legislation has led to a notable decrease in assaults.
I therefore asked the Home Secretary to make minimum sentencing reform a priority and to introduce reforms along the same lines. I believe that this policy area is essential to any Conservative legacy in which British people feel safe in their homes and on the streets. To do this, we need to protect those that protect us.