A NEW law offering greater legal protection for emergency service workers is being welcomed in West Mercia as new figures show 579 assaults against police in the last year.
The ‘Assaults on Emergency Workers Bill’ is expected to become law this autumn, following support in parliament.
It will make certain offences aggravated when committed against emergency workers, giving courts the power to impose stronger sentences.
It will also mean officers will be better protected from health risks as offenders who commit offences, such as spitting, will commit a further offence if they refuse to provide a sample for medical testing.
As part of his Behind the Badge campaign, PCC John Campion has backed the legislation from the start.
He said: “This is a mammoth step and fantastic news for all emergency workers.
“I am pleased to see the government taking this seriously by passing this legislation which will protect police officers and other emergency workers and act as a deterrent for those who would commit these offences.
“We mustn’t forget that behind the badge, police officers and other emergency workers are ordinary people doing extraordinary jobs.”
Home Office figures show that in 2017-18 there were 579 assaults recorded against West Mercia’s police officers, of which almost 200 caused injury.
Police Federation Chair, Sarah Cooper, said: “This represents a much needed boost to emergency workers who are subjected to horrific assaults in the line of duty while protecting the public.”
For more information on the Behind the Badge campaign visit https://www.westmercia-pcc.gov.uk/working-together/behind-the-badge/