Harper’s Law comes into force

Photo: PC Andrew Harper and Lissie Harper.

PC Andrew Harper was killed protecting the public. The Government has announced that Harper’s Law, named in his honour, has now come into force.

This new law introduces mandatory life sentences for those who unlawfully kill emergency workers in the line of duty. The Act doubles the maximum penalty from 12 months to two years for those who assault police or other emergency workers, such as prison officers, fire service personnel or frontline health workers – helping to protect those who put their lives on the line to keep communities safe.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act equips police with the powers and tools they need to combat crime while overhauling sentencing laws to protect the public and keep serious sexual and violent offenders behind bars for longer.

These include making whole-life orders the starting point for pre-meditated child murder and ending the automatic early release of offenders deemed to be a danger to the public.

It will be a statutory offence to intentionally or recklessly cause public nuisance and the police will also be supported with new powers to tackle non-violent protests that have a significant disruptive effect on the public or on access to Parliament.

Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab said, “From today our new laws will mean serious offenders spend longer in jail, including sex offenders, child abusers and those who kill emergency workers in the course of their duties. We are also protecting breastfeeding women from being photographed without their consent and giving the victims of domestic abuse longer to report the crime to the police to help ensure they get justice.”

Other sentencing reforms include higher maximum penalties for a range of child cruelty offences, known as Tony’s Law. In addition, judges will now be able to hand down life sentences to dangerous drivers who kill on our roads, and can impose whole life orders on 18-20-year-olds who commit the worst offences – for example, acts of terrorism which cause mass loss of life.