27 September 2017
The campaign to protect emergency services workers from assault was taken to Brighton this week where the Labour Party held its annual conference.
PFEW Vice Chair Calum Macleod spoke with Labour MPs to make the case that attacks against police officers are unacceptably high – one every 15 seconds according to our latest estimates. In addition there were in excess of 70,000 recorded assaults against NHS staff last year. This must never be tolerated as part and parcel of the job of being a blue light worker.
The politicians were encouraged to attend the second reading of Rhondda MP Chris Bryant’s Private Members Bill in Parliament on 20 October. This would make offences including malicious wounding, grievous or actual bodily harm and common assault aggravated when carried out against a constable, firefighter, doctor, paramedic, nurse or people assisting them in their duties.
Labour MPs present included the shadow police minister Louise Haigh, Jack Dromey, David Hanson, Luke Pollard and Protect the Protectors champion Holly Lynch, as well as Police and crime commissioners Dame Vera Baird (Northumbria) and Paddy Tipping (Nottinghamshire).
Mr Macleod said: “This was a good opportunity to have a constructive discussion with MPs about the current crises in policing and the big issues facing our members. They do a difficult job in ever more challenging circumstances and we were able to make the point that the choice should not be between resources and remuneration – we need both. The MPs’ support for better protections for all emergency services workers is very welcome, particularly ahead of second reading of the Private Members Bill in October.”
Holly Lynch added: “It’s really useful for the Federation to engage with MPs who are interested in policing. We discussed a wide range of challenges from police pay to resources and the Protect the Protectors campaign. There is huge awareness within the Labour party about the campaign and we need to ensure there are at least 100 MPs present when Chris Bryant’s Bill is read to ensure there can be a vote. I’m confident we have a good opportunity for this to become law.”
On September 21, Mr Macleod gave a presentation on Protect the Protectors at the Emergency Services Show in Birmingham, where PFEW launched a petition on change.org for the Home Secretary to support tougher sentences for those who assault the emergency services. In its first week the petition has attracted in excess of 20,000 signatures.
Pictured above (l-r): PFEW Vice Chair Calum Macleod, West Yorkshire PF Chair Nick Smart, Louise Haigh MP, Met Federation Chair Ken Marsh, Jack Dromey MP, Holly Lynch MP and David Hanson MP