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If the hon. Gentleman bears with me, I will come to sentencing in a few moments.
Those kinds of assaults, and assaults of any kind, are unacceptable at all levels. Unfortunately, they happen in all parts of the country: whether in Worcester, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire or Warwickshire, there have been examples in just the past few months of assaults that people should not have to put up with and we should not tolerate as a country. Let me be very clear, then, that assaulting a police officer is completely unacceptable, and anyone found guilty should expect to face the full force of the law.
I assure the hon. Members for Hackney North and Stoke Newington and for Gedling (Vernon Coaker) that tough penalties are available to the courts for those who assault police officers. Sentencing guidelines rightly provide for assault on a police officer to be treated more severely in appropriate cases. I note the hon. Gentleman’s point about youths, and I will touch on that in a moment. However, it is right that we remember that courts are independent and must have discretion to take account of all the circumstances of each case in determining an appropriate sentence.