Harper’s Law will recognise the sacrifice Emergency Services workers make to protect society, the Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales has said.
John Apter was speaking after meeting with Lissie Harper this week and giving her his full backing for the campaign that would see those who kill emergency services workers through their criminal acts jailed for life.
John said the Police Federation is standing “shoulder to shoulder” with Lissie.
“Whatever support I can give to help #HarpersLaw
become a reality I will,” said John. “I could not be more proud to play my part. I’ve got so much respect for Lissie and it’s a real privilege to be a supporter for Harper’s Law.”
He added: “I believe very passionately those who are in public office, especially emergency services, should have that greater level of protection. It’s not to say that anybody’s life is worth more than somebody else’s, but it’s about recognising the sacrifice that they give on behalf of the public.
“Whether you’re a police officer, firefighter or prison officer – or another member of the emergency services – you are performing a role on behalf of society, and many people in those vocations run towards danger.
“They are there for the public, to protect and serve the public, and what we sadly see time and time again, and I’ve seen with police officers, is lives are lost because of the job they do.”
The Federation has been speaking with Home Secretary Priti Patel on the matter, who John said has been supportive and helpful.
He added: “It’s important that we have Parliament of all parties to understand why we are pushing for this. The Home Secretary is listening and what we’ve already found so far, since the Home Secretary has been in office, is that she has acted on a number of things that we’ve been campaigning for, in some cases for many, many years.”
The Harper’s Law campaign was launched by Lissie after her Police Constable husband Andrew, a Thames Valley Police Officer, was killed trying to stop thieves stealing a quad bike in August last year.
Harper’s Law will mean a person found guilty of killing a police officer, firefighter, nurse, doctor, paramedic or prison officer as a direct result of a crime they have committed then they would be jailed for life.
This means that a life sentence would be imposed, asking for a minimum term in prison.
Last week Lissie enjoyed a “positive and constructive” meeting with Home Secretary Priti Patel and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland to discuss her plans for Harper’s Law and this past week she achieved cross party support as Labour backed her campaign.
The matter is now being worked on with Civil Servants. John said the Police Federation will provide access to legal and political advice needed.
He added: “The presumption should be that those guilty of an offense have taken the life of an emergency worker, they should expect to spend the rest of their life in prison.
“I will use all of the influence that I can to support Harper’s Law. But also to ensure that Lissie knows that we are there for her. She needs all the support that we can give – she deserves it.
“And for Lissie to fight for Harper’s Law in the aftermath of the most brutal killing of her husband, I think is outstanding and for that I’m honoured to play my small part to make sure that we, the Police Federation of England and Wales, and the 120,000 members that we represent, get behind Lissie and make Harper’s Law a reality.”