Conor McGinn, MP for St Helens North, has co-sponsored a Bill which would put in place measures to protect police officers, fire and rescue service workers, paramedics, doctors and nurses.
The Crime (Assaults on Emergency Service Staff) Bill is led by the Labour MP for Halifax Holly Lynch and sponsored by Mr McGinn and nine other MPs. The Bill would make certain offences, including malicious wounding, grievous or actual bodily harm and common assault, aggravated when perpetrated against a police officer, firefighter, paramedic, doctor or nurse in the execution of their duty.
It would also require someone who spits at an emergency responder to provide a blood sample to rule out the risk of having transmitted a communicable disease, or face a fine and custodial sentence for refusing to do so.
Mr McGinn has previously called for tougher sentences for criminals assaulting police officers after he obtained figures for the Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy. The figures showed that 584 Merseyside police officers were assaulted in the year 2015-2016 which represented one in six of the force’s 3,635 officers.
This week the Police Federation of England and Wales released the results of their latest welfare survey data which suggest that there were more than two million (2,113,602) unarmed physical assaults on officers over a 12 month period, and a further 302,842 assaults using a deadly weapon.
Speaking after the Bill was presented in Parliament, Conor McGinn MP said:
“The amount of assaults and intimidation faced by our emergency services workers is truly shocking.
“It seems clear that something needs to be done to better protect emergency workers and it for this reason that I am proud to support and sponsor Holly’s Bill.
“I know from my regular meetings with the police officers and representatives from the Police Federation, as well as medics and firefighters what a difficult and often dangerous job they do. They deserve our utmost respect.
“We need tough sentences to protect those who protect us and show that attacks against emergency service workers will not be tolerated.
“This Bill will help protect those providing vital services against violent attacks and other forms of intimidation.
“I hope the Government take note and act now to ensure police officers and emergency service workers are properly protected.”