New emergency services attack law 'not a deterrent' says Yorkshire MP who campaigned for the legislation

A new law to crack down on attacks on police and emergency services staff did not go far enough as a deterrent, says Halifax MP Holly Lynch, who campaigned for the legislation.
A new law to crack down on attacks on police and emergency services staff did not go far enough as a deterrent, says Halifax MP Holly Lynch, who campaigned for the legislation.

A new law to crack down on attacks on police and emergency services staff did not go far enough as a deterrent, says Halifax MP Holly Lynch, who campaigned for the legislation.

Brought in last year, the new law doubled the length of sentences available to magistrates - from six months to a year.

Figures obtained by the BBC under Freedom of Information laws show that police in England and Wales made a total of 6,663 arrests between November 2018 and May this year.

Labour MP Holly Lynch has said that the Government needs "to get really tough on this" because the numbers are "still too high".

"It didn't go quite as far as we would like in terms of being a deterrent," she said.

"What I'm seeing far too often is, when sentences are handed out, they are suspended sentences or things like community resolutions ... which is not enforceable."

Read more: 'Stop treating our police officers like punchbags'

Brian Booth, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation echoed the Labour MP's comments and said the Protect the Protectors’ Bill, which was given Royal Assent back in September following a campaign supported by the Yorkshire Post, is not having the desired effect he had hoped as assaults on officers in the West Yorkshire force continue to rise.

Mr Booth said: “On average there are between 30 and 50 assaults on our staff every week.

Read more: Kicked, beaten, spat at, this is what West Yorkshire Police officers have to put up with every week

“The force is now looking at a review about why the new law is not working for us.

“Let’s stop talking about a maximum 12 month sentence for those who attack our officers and let’s start talking about a minimum sentence, in Australia I believe that is six months.

“Our officers are going to work to serve the public and people are treating them like punchbags.”