Assault On An Emergency Worker
This is a relatively new offence which was brought into force in 2018. It makes any type of assault automatically more serious if it is against someone defined as an emergency worker. There are a number of types of jobs that are defined as “emergency workers” – but they include police officers, NHS workers or firefighters etc. It is treated very seriously and carries up to 12 months in custody.
In July 2020 a consultation began with the Government seeking views from various representative bodies from the emergency services and the judiciary, on whether the maximum penalty should be doubled to two years in prison. This would see the maximum sentence for such matters doubled again within 2 years. The Government are always able to alter legislation in relation to sentencing guidelines but this review is in no doubt in part due to the increase in awareness as to the type of work that they do due to the Covid -19 pandemic.
Justice Secretary & Lord Chancellor, Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC MP, said:
Being punched, kicked or spat at should never be part of the job for our valiant emergency workers who put their lives on the line to keep the public safe.
Now more than ever they must be able to do their extraordinary work without the fear of being attacked or assaulted, which is why we’re determined to look at how our laws can protect them further.
We will continue to do everything in our power to protect our police, prison officers, firefighters and paramedics – and ensure those who seek to harm them feel the full force of the law.
Magistrates or Judges are well aware of the strength of feeling by the public and the Government’s view of this type of offending so it should not be treated lightly. You must take legal advice as soon as you are accused of an offence of this type. We will manage your expectations and take you through the evidence. If you have committed the offence under the influence of drink or drugs, this can make matters worse, but it may be that an alternative sentence for the court to impose would be one where you receive help for any addiction rather than imposing an immediate prison sentence.