In response to the ever increasing level of assaults being targeted at emergency response workers new law entitled The Assault on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018 (‘the Act’) will come into force in November 2018.
Sukhdip Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors outlines the general position.
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The current position:
The nature of assaults most regularly reported include spitting at and kicking those conducting their duties and which normally are charged as either common assault or assaulting a police constable in the execution of his duty which would only result in a maximum sentence of up to six months imprisonment.
The changes under the Act:
1) The Act creates a new category of common assault, assaulting an emergency worker in the execution of their function and which covers the following individuals:
- a constable
- a person (other than a constable) who has the power of a constable or is otherwise employed for a police purpose, or is engaged to provide services for police purposes
- National Crime Agency officer
- Prison Officer
- a person (other than a police officer) employed or engaged to carry out functions in a custodial institution of a corresponding kind to those carried out to those by a Police Officer
- Prison Custody Officer, so far as relating to the exercise of escort function
- a Custody Officer, so far as relating to the exercise of escort function
- a person employed for the purposes of providing or engaging to provide fire services, or fire and rescue services
- a person employed for the purposes of providing or engaging to provide search services or rescue services (or both)
- a person employed for the purposes of providing or engaging to provide
- NHS health services, or
- Services in the support of the provisions of NHS health services, and those general activities in doing so involve face to face interaction with individuals receiving the services, or with members of the public
Under the Act the maximum prison sentence is now doubled to a term of imprisonment not exceeding twelve months, and or a fine or both.
2) The Act also creates a statutory aggravating factor, which increases the seriousness of other offences against an emergency worker, such as actual bodily harm, involving:
- threats to kill
- wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm
- malicious wounding
- administering poison
- causing bodily injury by gun powder
- using explosive substances with intent to cause grievous bodily harm
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