The Home Secretary will be invited to take the opportunity to make a difference to the lives of police officers as he addresses the rank and file for the first time tomorrow.
Calum Macleod, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, will welcome the Right Honourable Sajid Javid MP as he take the stage to address delegates at the PFEW annual conference - his first major appointment since being appointed Home Secretary.
Among the issues Mr Macleod will raise are the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill and he will call on the Government to show support for emergency service workers and “agree that they are not society’s punch bags for those fuelled by drink and drugs, or trying to evade arrest” and to show officers that they are worth “more than an abused household pet.”
PFEW has campaigned for changes to legislation and the Bill is progressing through Parliament, but Mr Macleod will urge the Home Secretary to take the opportunity for Government to make it stronger as currently “it gives nowhere near the level of protection we expected for police officers.”
The maximum term for common assault is to increase to 12 months. As the Bill stands, it means offenders may face little or no additional consequences for their actions when it comes to common assault, because magistrates do not currently have 12 months’ sentencing powers and therefore six months is the maximum that can be expected.
“We have argued that the sentence should be 24 months yet it was felt by some in government to be unreasonable so the Home Secretary has an opportunity to address this important issue,” Mr Macleod will say, comparing it to the Animal Welfare Bill, which increases the maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty tenfold, from six months to five years - which has received Government support.
“It makes a mockery of our justice system,” he will say.
He will also call on the Home Secretary to implement Section 154(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, empowering the magistrates’ courts to hand down more appropriate sentencing.
“We’re calling on the Government to send a clear message to the Crown Prosecution Service, that failing to support victims of crime – police officers who are assaulted while serving the public - is completely and totally unacceptable.”