East Sussex MPs have joined their colleagues in voting for punishments reflecting the ‘increased seriousness’ of assaults on police officers.
Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott’s motion on police officer safety, which called on the Government to ‘implement statutory guidance on sentencing which reflects the seriousness of the issue’ was accepted during a debate at the House of Commons last Wednesday, November 2.
In the revised motion, the House noted that ‘any assault on a police officer is unacceptable’ and ‘the work of the independent Sentencing Council in producing guidelines that specifically highlight the increased seriousness of an offence committed against anyone providing a public service’ was welcomed.
The Government also committed to more accurate recording of assaults on police officers in England and Wales ‘to better understand the scale of this issue’.
Maria Caulfield, MP for Lewes, said: “No one takes police officer safety more seriously than me.
“I have had numerous death threats and threats against me in the 18 months of being an MP and the support of Sussex Police has been invaluable.
“Having worked on the front line myself in the health service during my time working in A&E I have seen what a difficult and dangerous job the police have and fully support them.”
Peter Kyle, MP for Hove, said: “I know from my regular meetings with officers locally that police officers are subject to everything from spitting to physical violence while working on the front line to keep our communities safe.
“I’ll do everything I can do ensure that police officers get the protection they deserve.”
Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle. said: “I asked the Home Office team to take further steps to challenge lenient sentences for assaults on police officers.
“This follows conversations with my local police team and the police federation. My aim was to give the Attorney General new powers to challenge light sentences. Accordingly, and as this question shows,
“I am not only supportive of protecting the police but have done my bit to campaign on it.”
Nus Ghani, MP for Wealden, said: “The safety of police officers is of paramount importance. That is why I and a majority of MPs voted last week to welcome new guidelines that mean any offence committed against anyone providing a public service is treated more seriously by the authorities.
“My work on the Home Affairs Select Committee involves investigating police issues at all levels – security, funding, recruitment and retention – so I am well aware of the sacrifices made by our police forces, and of the support given to them by the Government.”
Caroline Ansell, MP for Eastbourne, added: “I actually voted for an amendment to the motion which said any attack on a police officer is completely unacceptable and the Government is committed to accurately recording the number of assaults on officers.
“It also made clear the independent Sentencing Council is writing guidelines to specifically highlight the increased seriousness of offences against anyone in public service and that would, of course, include the police.
“On the point of spending, the amendment said the Government has protected police spending in real terms over the Spending Review period. It seems to me this amendment shares a great deal of common ground with the original motion.”The original motion put forward by Ms Abbott was amended to remove a sentence that read ‘to ensure that police officer numbers and funding are not cut further.’
There are an estimated 23,000 assaults on police officers in England and Wales each year, according to Ms Abbott.
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