Emergency Services: Crimes of Violence

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 7th September 2020.

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Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many offences that were recorded as convictions for assaulting an emergency worker were assaults against (a) police officers, (b) NHS staff, (c) prison officers, (d) firefighters and (e) other emergency workers since the offence was introduced.

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

Never has the debt of gratitude we owe our emergency workers been greater, they are heroes who risk their lives to keep us safe. Assaulting an emergency worker is wholly unacceptable and we need to make sure that the criminal law can reflect the seriousness with which we take these crimes.

That is why the Government recently announced a consultation on doubling the maximum penalty for assaulting an emergency worker, in line with its manifesto commitment.

Court outcomes data centrally held by the Ministry of Justice does not identify the specific occupation of the victim. The exception to this is the summary offence ‘Assault on a constable’. This offence, albeit that it remains on the statute book with a maximum penalty of 6 months imprisonment, has been superseded by the triable either way offence of ‘Assault on an emergency worker’, which was introduced in November 2018. This offence has a maximum penalty of 12 months imprisonment and applies to the police, in addition to other categories of emergency workers.

The information may be held on court records, however identification of the occupation of victims would require access to these records to manually collect information, which would be of disproportionate cost.

The Ministry of Justice has published information on convictions and sentencing outcomes for the following offences: ‘Assault on a constable’, ‘Assault of an emergency worker’ and ‘Common assault’ up to December 2019, available in the Outcomes by Offence data tool:


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