The Chairman of Gloucestershire Police Federation has said that he “unreservedly backs” the campaign for Harper’s Law, which would see those convicted of killing emergency services workers jailed for life.
Thames Valley Police officer Andrew Harper was killed on 15 August last year by Henry Long, Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole, who were convicted of manslaughter, but cleared of murder. Long was given a 16-year sentence and Bowers and Coles received 13 years; their sentences are now being reviewed by the Court of Appeal.
In response, Andrew’s widow Lissie is fighting for Harper’s Law, which is calling for “criminals convicted of killing a police officer, firefighter, nurse, doctor, prison officer or paramedic to be jailed for life. No ifs. No buts”.
Steve James, Chairman of Gloucestershire Police Federation, said: “I unreservedly back Lissie Harper’s campaign to get Harper’s Law written into statute. The sentence given to Andrew’s killers was a travesty.
“Sentences for those who assault police officers or our fellow emergency workers should refelect the seriousness of those offences and the fact those workers are acting to protect the most vulnerable in society. That principle should be extended to those who knowingly, as in this case, take the life of an emergency worker.
“Those who are prepared to put their life on the line should at least have the comfort of knowing that those who take that life will be subject to the most serious of punishment.”
Lissie’s campaign is being supported by the Police Federation of England and Wales. She is currently meeting with MPs and hopes to speak to Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Lissie said: “Our justice system is broken. And we need Harper’s Law to help fix it. I have witnessed first-hand the lenient and insufficient way in which the justice system deals with criminals who take the lives of our emergency workers.
“Sadly nothing I do will bring Andrew back – but I know he would be proud of me for seeking to bring about a law change, which will hopefully act as a deterrent to anyone considering doing to one of his fellow emergency service workers the terrible thing that happened to him.
“Harper’s Law will ensure those that commit these offences aren’t out again on the streets in a matter of weeks while the families of the victims suffer their own life sentences. That would be far more just.”
Lissie is asking the public to sign and share the petition: change.org/HarpersLaw, use the hashtag #HarpersLaw and lobby their local MPs.