Harper's Law officially launched after death of Thames Valley Police officer
From today (28 June), anyone convicted of killing an emergency worker while committing a crime will be given an automatic life sentence.
The law change comes after a campaign by the widow of a killed Thames Valley Police officer.
Lissie Harper, whose husband Andrew was killed in duty, campaigned passionately for reform since his death.
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Police Constable Harper was killed trying to track down a stolen quad bike in Berkshire.
He got caught in the strap of the BMW the offenders got away in and was dragged to his death on 15 August 2019.
The trio he was chasing were all convicted of manslaughter, Henry Long was sentenced to 16 years in jail, he was driving the vehicle towing Harper when he suffered the fatal injuries.
Passengers Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers were given 13-year sentences.
Lissie launched a petition to bring in tougher sentencing for those committing a crime which leads to the death of an emergency worker.
It was signed by 750,000 people, following the groundswell of support, she met with high profile Government officials.
The widow worked with Ministry of Justice and Home Office staff to push through the tougher sentencing.
She said: “Emergency services workers require extra protection. I know all too well how they are put at risk and into the depths of danger on a regular basis on behalf of society.
"That protection is what Harper’s Law will provide and I am delighted that it will soon become a reality.
“It’s been a long journey and a lot of hard work.
"I know Andrew would be proud to see Harper’s Law reach this important milestone.
“I’d like to thank the teams at the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office and Dominic Raab, Priti Patel and Robert Buckland for working with me.”
When the Government announced it planned to implement the new law last November, Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Matthew Barber, hailed the decision.
He said: “The triumph of Lissie’s passionate campaign comes out of the tragedy of Andrew’s killing.
"His death is still keenly felt by Thames Valley Police and this change in legislation is a fitting tribute to him.
“It is right that the Government has backed the campaign for mandatory life sentences for those who unlawfully kill emergency workers in the course of their duty.
"As Police and Crime Commissioner I am well aware of the risks and dangers that our police officers face every day.
"The police will run towards danger to protect the public and they deserve our respect and protection in return.”