Crewe MP thanked by PC's widow for helping 'Harper's Law' campaign

  Posted: 25.11.21 at 11:55 by The Editor

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CREWE'S MP Kieran Mullan has been thanked by the family of PC Andrew Harper for campaigning for tougher laws to protect the police and other emergency workers from violent criminals.

The government has confirmed this week that ‘Harper’s Law’ will be added to the statute book after the MP led a backbench campaign to support Lissie Harper, who was seeking changes after her husband, Andrew, was killed in the line of duty in 2019.

The PC was dragged for more than a mile to his death after his feet got caught in a strap trailing a suspect's getaway car in Berkshire. Three teenagers were cleared of the police officer's murder, but found guilty of, manslaughter last year and received sentences of between 13 and 19 years.

An appeal by the Attorney General to increase their time behind bars was rejected.

The new law will introduce mandatory life sentences for anyone convicted of killing an emergency worker while committing a crime.

The Crewe and Nantwich MP, whose father was a policeman and whose sister is a serving officer, said: "I remember growing up hearing about the dangerous things my dad had to do as a policeman to keep people safe and too be honest I was naive about what that meant when I was younger.

"Now whenever I hear about a police officer being injured or killed I immediately think of my sister.

"Even if for just a second you worry and I know this is true for all policing families. For Lissie, the worried turned into a reality.

"It has been an absolute privilege to help her turn that terrible personal tragedy into something positive. This law makes it absolutely clear to criminals that we will go after them with the full force of the law if their actions lead to the death of police officers and other emergency service workers.

"As well as ensuring families get justice it will make criminals think twice and if that saves one police officer's life then that is worth it.”

The MP met with former Justice Secretary Robert Buckland to push the government to support the campaign and held a reception in Parliament for Lissie last year to build support among MPs, as well as organising a series of meetings with her and other MPs during the Conservative Party's conference this year.

He said ministers are determined to make sure that punishments fit the severity of the crime and are determined to introduce the law as soon as possible.

It extends mandatory life sentences to anyone who commits the manslaughter of an emergency worker on duty, including police, prison officers, firefighters and paramedics, while carrying out another crime, unless there are truly exceptional circumstances.  

Courts already have to impose life sentences for murder, with a whole-life order being the starting point if the victim is a police officer.

Lissie Harper said: “Emergency services workers require extra protection. I know all too well how they are put at risk and into the depths of danger on a regular basis on behalf of society. That protection is what Harper’s Law will provide and I am delighted that it will soon become a reality. 

“It’s been a long journey and a lot of hard work. I know Andrew would be proud to see Harper’s Law reach this important milestone. I’d like to thank Kieran for his help with my campaign. His family background meant he really understood why this was so important.”

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