12 July 2017
Labour’s Chris Bryant has said he will introduce a Private Members Bill calling for changes in the law to protect emergency service workers from assault.
The Rhondda MP topped a shortlist of 20 parliamentarians last month, who will be given an opportunity to put forward an idea in the Commons chamber.
He asked the country to vote for their preferred choice out of six options in an online poll and the Assaults on Emergency Staff Bill won with 10,764 votes out of a possible 33,900.
It includes protections the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has been calling for around sentencing and mandatory blood testing of those who spit at officers, as part of our Protect the Protectors campaign (in conjunction with our partners, the British Transport Police Federation and the Prison Officers Association).
Calum Macleod, Vice Chair of PFEW, said: “This is extremely positive news and we are grateful to Chris Bryant for agreeing to present the bill, which represents a significant step forward for our campaign and for emergency service workers throughout the country. We hope that the bill will be widely supported by MPs across the House and result in the necessary changes in legislation to better protect the protectors.”
Mr Bryant told the Daily Politics on Wednesday (12 July): “I will introduce a new offence of attacking an emergency worker whilst they are doing their job. This is because so many police officers, ambulance workers, doctors and NHS workers have been attacked in recent years and the law simply isn’t strong enough to protect them.”
He said he had spoken to Conservative MPs and was confident of cross party support.
Mr Bryant added: “We need a proper way of telling people in this country that it is simply not on to attack a fire worker when they are trying to put out a fire; it’s not on to attack a paramedic when they are trying to resuscitate somebody. When people spit there’s no requirement in law that they have to provide a blood test.
“Every single politician in this country goes on about how wonderful our emergency workers are – and yes they are – this is an opportunity to put something on the statute books that ‘protects the protectors’.”
The bill will be presented to the House on Wednesday 19 July.