Police Federation chair calls for longer sentences for people that assault emergency workers

15 September 2020, 21:04

By Fiona Jones

A two year sentence for assaulting an emergency worker should be the "absolute minimum," Police Federation chair John Apter told LBC.

Police forces in England and Wales made up to 45 arrests every day during lockdown following attacks on emergency service workers, figures obtained by LBC show.

Police Federation chief John Apter told Iain, "We see dozens of officers every day being assaulted across England and Wales.

"The number of paramedics and nurses and firefighters who are being assaulted is shocking, it's gobsmacking."

For a number of years he and his colleagues have been "campaigning hard" to increase the sentence for those that assault emergency workers to a length that will be a "meaningful deterrent."

Common assaults against an emergency worker used to amount to six months and after much lobbying, Mr Apter succeeded in an extension on prison time to two years.

John Apter tells LBC that people who assault officers are "laughing in the face of justice"
John Apter tells LBC that people who assault officers are "laughing in the face of justice". Picture: LBC

He branded the criminal justice system as "broken in many places...for many many years" and told Iain his colleagues and other emergency workers feel like "second class victims."

Having been a police officer for 27 years Mr Apter said, "I have seen the very worst that society can throw at us...but when we see firefighters in effect ambushed in that way, or paramedics who are trying to help people being spat at and bitten and head-butted and kicked, it's disgusting. It really is."

He said those that abuse emergency workers have no excuse, "they are violent individuals who deserve the full weight of the law thrown at them."

Mr Apter said two years should be the "absolute minimum" but for the more serious offences there are longer sentences.

However, he said, "All too often we see these offenders who walk away from court with nothing more than a slap on the wrist and they are literally...walking away from court sticking two fingers up.

"They're laughing in the face of justice."