AACE Managing Director Martin Flaherty welcomes introduction of Harper’s Law

Emergency workers will receive greater protection from violent criminals after the Government confirmed ‘Harper’s Law’ would be added to the statute book.

In response to this, Managing Director of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) Martin Flaherty OBE QAM said:

The introduction of Harper’s Law to the statute book will be rightly welcomed by the entire ambulance sector and we hope it represents a further deterrent to the small minority of people who would cause harm to our staff, as they undertake their daily roles caring for people and saving lives.

We now call upon the wider judiciary to be more consistent in applying tougher sentences to perpetrators who are convicted of any form of violence, aggression or abuse towards our staff, not just those that result in manslaughter or murder.

Violence and aggression towards anyone is unacceptable, but emergency services workers need particular additional protection due to the nature of their work on the frontline, sometimes responding in unpredictable, stressful and dangerous circumstances.

The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018 introduced a statutory aggravating factor which means judges must also consider tougher sentences for offences such as manslaughter, GBH or sexual assault if the victim was an emergency worker and we would like to see the judiciary apply these tougher sentences more often and more consistently, in support of the new Harper’s Law.