Killing cops or 999 workers will be punished with MANDATORY life sentence

CRIMINALS who kill an emergency worker are set to face a life behind bars after the Government finally backed 'Harper's Law'.

Judges will be handed the new powers when jailing those who kill police officers, firemen or paramedics – under the new laws named after PC Andrew Harper.

The change in law comes as a major victory for the widow of hero PC Andrew Harper, who was killed responding to a late-night burglary call.

Lissie Harper, 30, has campaigned tirelessly for the rule change over the last two-years, after being "outraged" by sentences handed to the three teens responsible for her husband's death.

The so-called Harper's Law will apply to any killer of an on-duty police officer,
fireman, paramedic or prison officer – as well as anyone who kills medics providing NHS care.

Mrs Harper said: "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."

The legal change is expected to come into force via an amendment to the existing Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill – meaning it would likely get Royal Assent and become law early next year.

PC Harper, 28, died from his injuries when he was caught in a strap attached to the back of a car and dragged down a winding country road as the trio fled the scene of a quad bike theft in Sulhamstead, Berkshire, on the night of August 15 2019.

Three teens – Henry Long, 19, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18 – were found not guilty of the Thames Valley Police traffic officer's murder on July 24 but all three were convicted of manslaughter.

Long, the leader of the group, admitted manslaughter, while passengers Cole and Bowers were convicted of manslaughter after a trial at the Old Bailey.

Long, 19, was sentenced to 16 years while 18-year-olds Cole and Bowers were handed 13 years in custody.

The sentences prompted Mrs Harper to lobby the Government to better protect emergency services workers on the front line.

Announcing the intended law change, the Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab, said: "We are going to pass into law mandatory life sentences for those who unlawfully kill an emergency worker in the course of their duty.

"I pay tribute to Lissie Harper's remarkable campaign.

"This Government is on the side of victims and their families and we want our emergency services to know that we'll always have their back."

Home Secretary Priti Patel said those who seek to harm emergency service workers represent the "very worst of humanity" adding future killers "deserve to be stripped of the freedom to walk our streets".

I know all too well how [emergency service workers] are put at risk and into the depths of danger on a regular basis on behalf of society.

Mrs Harper 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."

Police officers, National Crime Agency officers, prison officers, custody officers, firefighters and paramedics are all defined as emergency services workers.

The courts must already impose life sentences for murder, although they can also be applied to other violent offences.

A life sentence lasts for the rest of a person's life.

It means they can be sent back to prison if they commit another offence upon release from custody after serving at least the minimum sentence imposed by the courts.

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