DOMINIC RAAB: This is why I am introducing 'Harper's Law'

DOMINIC RAAB: I want 999 staff to know we’ve got their backsThis is why I am introducing ‘Harper’s Law

PC Andrew Harper was just 28 years old and had been married for less than a month when he was killed in the line of duty as a Thames Valley Police officer in August 2019.

As he tried to arrest suspects of a burglary, he got caught in a strap hanging from their car.

At speeds of more than 40mph, they dragged PC Harper for a mile.

È stato dichiarato morto sul posto, leaving heartbroken his wife Lissie, family and many friends.

PC Andrew Harper (giusto) era solo 28 years old and had been married for less than a month when he was killed in the line of duty as a Thames Valley Police officer in August 2019

PC Andrew Harper (giusto) era solo 28 years old and had been married for less than a month when he was killed in the line of duty as a Thames Valley Police officer in August 2019

Three teenage males were convicted of manslaughter after the killing. Henry Long received a sentence of 16 years for taking PC Harper’s life, while Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole received 13 years each.

Lissie Harper was left with a burning sense of injustice at the length of the sentences given to her husband’s killers. Convinced that their punishment did not fit the severity of the crime, she has spent the 16 months since that trial campaigning for changes in the law. She doesn’t want any other family to go through what she and Andrew’s wider family have suffered.

But as harrowing as PC Harper’s case is, there is a broader principle at stake. We all owe a debt of gratitude to our emergency workers, especially after the pandemic of the past two years.

Mr Raab said: 'As harrowing as PC Harper¿s case is, there is a broader principle at stake. We all owe a debt of gratitude to our emergency workers, especially after the pandemic of the past two years'. Nella foto: PC Harper's wife Lissie

Mr Raab said: ‘As harrowing as PC Harper’s case is, there is a broader principle at stake. We all owe a debt of gratitude to our emergency workers, especially after the pandemic of the past two years’. Nella foto: PC Harper’s wife Lissie

Despite the risks, they continue putting themselves on the line to keep us safe. And yet last year, there were more than 10,000 convictions for assaults on emergency workers doing their jobs, including police officers, paramedics and firefighters. I want them to know we’ve got their backs. When I was a junior justice minister in 2018, I was involved in doubling the maximum penalty for assaults on emergency workers from six months to a year. Now we’re passing a new law through parliament to double this again – to two years.

But we still need to go further.

So I am introducing ‘Harper’s Law– which will require mandatory life sentences for anyone who unlawfully kills an emergency worker in the course of their duties, unless there are truly exceptional circumstances.

'I am introducing ¿Harper¿s Law¿ ¿ which will require mandatory life sentences for anyone who unlawfully kills an emergency worker in the course of their duties, unless there are truly exceptional circumstances'

‘I am introducing ‘Harper’s Law– which will require mandatory life sentences for anyone who unlawfully kills an emergency worker in the course of their duties, unless there are truly exceptional circumstances

Had this law existed when PC Harper died, his killers would have received life sentences.

I pay tribute to Lissie’s determination to change the law, so that the families of those killed while simply doing their jobs get the justice they deserve.

This Government is recruiting the police, increasing the time the most serious offenders spend behind bars and building the prisons to take the most robust approach to crime.

We are standing up for victims, the police and all dedicated frontline emergency workers.

That’s how we can build back a stronger, safer and a fairer country.

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