It was just over one year ago when three callous thieves killed PC Andrew Harper as they ran like cowards from the scene of a burglary which they had just committed.
PC Harper was dragged behind the getaway car that was being driven by a career criminal, Henry Long, for a distance of at least 1.4 miles at an average speed of 42.5 MPH.
Andrew was a loving family man who had been married for just over four weeks when he was taken from his loving family, friends and colleagues. Andrew and his beautiful wife, Lissie, were due to go on their honeymoon the week after he was killed.
When the three individuals who were responsible for his death were acquitted of murder, pictures appeared of them in the mainstream media as they smiled and smirked at the cameras.
They were no-doubt ‘happy’ that they had been found ‘not guilty’ of murder but were instead found guilty of manslaughter; thinking that they would spend less time in prison for killing someone who dedicated his life to protecting the public.
I am sure that the smiles soon disappeared after their sentences were handed down: 20 years for Henry Long, and 16 years for Jesse Cole and Albert Bowers.
But after various statutory ‘discounts’ were applied to all three sentences, it quickly became apparent that the three of them could be out of prison in under ten years.
The sentences handed down to the three thieves are currently being reviewed by the Attorney General who is due to share her findings at the end of this month.
But following the disgraceful conduct of the killers – and some members of their family – PC Harper’s family decided that they would try and get the law changed.
Andrew’s mum, Debbie, is calling for an ‘Andrew’s Law UK’ which would see anyone who is convicted of killing an emergency worker spend at least 20 years behind bars.
This would mean that anyone who is found guilty of killing an emergency worker would not be eligible for any ‘discounts’ being applied to their sentences.
And you only need to browse the ‘Assaulted on Duty‘ section of our website to understand just how many emergency workers, the police, in particular, experience ‘near misses’ every time they start their shift.
‘Harper’s Law’ is being backed by PC Harper’s widow, Lissie Harper, as well as the Police Federation of England and Wales – which represents the 122k ‘rank and file’ police officers who are on the front line of the thin blue line.
‘Harper’s Law’ would result in anyone who is convicted of killing an emergency worker, spend a ‘whole life’ period behind bars.
Some have said that ‘Andrew’s Law’ has a more realistic chance of making its way onto the statute books.
In contrast, others believe that only a ‘whole life’ sentence should be given to anyone who is found guilty of killing an emergency worker.
A spokesperson for the ‘Andrew’s Law campaign said:
‘As many of you will have seen, the Police Federation is running an entirely separate campaign, which they are now calling Harper’s Law, which calls for a whole life tariff [for anyone who is convicted of killing an emergency worker].
‘AndrewsLawUK welcomes all views and is pleased to see there is a national debate underway on the subject.
‘We all want the same thing, which is to protect our blue light officers better.
‘AndrewsLawUK is taking a realistic and pragmatic approach to deterrence in its call for a minimum 20-year sentence.
‘A whole life tariff for manslaughter is unlikely ever to be adopted into our criminal justice system, but it is important that all views and opinions are put forward and heard.
‘AndrewsLawUK have already met with John Howell MP, the family’s local constituency MP, to kickstart the campaign.
‘The Police Federation were invited to that meeting but declined to attend.
‘There are plans to meet with the Home Secretary Priti Patel soon and we very much hope that the Police Federation will join us at that meeting.
‘Since starting the campaign, Debbie is delighted to see that Robert Buckland QC, the Secretary of State for Justice, is now reviewing proposals to abolish the current system of automatic reduction for sentences for early guilty pleas’.
Either way, Andrew’s legacy will undoubtedly result in new legislation being passed which will mean that anyone who does kill an emergency worker can expect to spend at least 20 years of their life in a 6×9 ft prison cell.
It is fair to say that the vast majority of the general public want to see a law introduced that will mean individuals who are convicted of killing an emergency worker – individuals like Long, Cole and Alberts – would spend the vast majority of their natural life behind bars.
We, as a nation, owe it to the men and women who risk their lives to keep us all safe to ensure that anyone who kills an emergency worker spends the maximum amount of time behind bars.
The general public needs the police more than the police needs the general public; thankfully, anyone with an ounce of common sense already understands this.
So it is about time that we started to support our police because, without them, our country would turn into a lawless state where only death and violence would prevail.
We need to protect the protectors.
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