Crimes against the Person: Emergency Services

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 10th June 2020.

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Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the average custodial sentence was for people convicted of assaulting an emergency worker in the most recent period for which figures are available.

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many maximum 12-month custodial sentences have been given since the sentence for assaulting an emergency worker was doubled.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Ministry of Justice has published information on the sentencing outcomes of court proceedings up to December 2019. The average custodial sentence length (ACSL) and the number of 12 month custodial sentences given for assaults on emergency workers can be found by using the Outcomes by offence data tool, available here:

In the pivot table, filter the Offence field to ‘8.22 Assault of an emergency worker’. The ACSL for this offence is in row 54 and the custodial sentence length of 12 months is in row 62.

The figures given in the pivot table relate to defendants for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

Assaulting a police officer is wholly unacceptable and we need to make sure that the criminal law can reflect the seriousness with which we take these crimes.

Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for our independent Courts. The maximum penalty for an offence is set by Parliament and is designed to cover the most serious imaginable behaviours that may fall under that offence.

However, we continue to keep maximum penalties under review to ensure they reflect the seriousness of the offending behaviour. In 2018 we strengthened the law with the Assaults on Emergency Workers Act and doubled the maximum penalty for common assault to 12 months where it is committed against an emergency worker. The Government has committed to consult on increasing the maximum penalty from 12 months to 2 years for assaulting emergency workers.

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