Documents to download

The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill is a short, four-clause private member’s bill that would strengthen the sanctions available to courts to punish individuals who assault emergency workers. It was introduced in the House of Commons by Chris Bryant (Labour MP for Rhondda) and received cross-party support during its passage through the Commons, including from the Government. The Bill is sponsored by Baroness Donaghy (Labour) in the House of Lords, and is scheduled to receive its second reading on 29 June 2018.

The Bill would introduce a new offence of common assault, or battery, against an emergency worker. This new offence would be triable summarily in the magistrates’ court, or on indictment in the Crown Court (trial by jury). The Bill would provide for the offence to be punishable on conviction by a term of imprisonment for up to six months in the magistrates’ court, twelve months in the Crown Court, and/or a fine in either court. The Bill would also place a duty on courts to consider more serious assaults committed against emergency workers, including actual and grievous bodily harm, as an aggravated assault on sentencing. The Bill defines an ‘emergency worker’ to include individuals employed or engaged as police constables; prison officers or prison custody officers; fire, search and/or rescue staff; or persons providing or supporting the provision of NHS health services.

The Bill was amended during its passage through the House of Commons at both committee and report stages. Changes included widening the scope of ‘emergency worker’ to encompass prisoner custody officers and all those who provide or support the provision of NHS health services; the addition of text to explicitly make the sexual assault of an emergency worker an aggravating factor in sentencing; and the removal of clauses that were in the Bill (as introduced) concerning the taking of intimate and non-intimate samples—such as blood and saliva—from perpetrators of assaults.


Documents to download

Related posts

  • Current Affairs Digest: Home Affairs (May 2024)

    In recent years, there has been a fall in levels of trust and confidence in policing. This followed a series of high-profile scandals, some of which involved serious offences committed by serving police officers. This briefing explores the role of media coverage in changing public perceptions of policing and also reports on calls by various parties to improve the current levels of confidence.

    Current Affairs Digest: Home Affairs (May 2024)
  • Cyclists and the law

    Currently, cyclists who ride dangerously or carelessly can be prosecuted for various offences, including those contained in the Road Traffic Act 1988 (as amended). In 2024, the government said it was introducing a new offence of causing death by dangerous cycling. This briefing summarises the existing laws and proposals for creating new offences ahead of a forthcoming debate in the House of Lords.

    Cyclists and the law
  • Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Bill: HL Bill 73 of 2023–24

    The Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Bill is due to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 13 May 2024. The bill seeks to fulfil the commitment made by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on 10 January 2023 to quash the convictions of those convicted as a result of the Horizon scandal. It would extend and apply to England and Wales, and Northern Ireland. Its provisions would come into force at royal assent. During committee stage the bill was extended to Northern Ireland. There have also been calls for it to be extended to Scotland. The bill has received cross-party support but is controversial as the quashing of convictions by Parliament is unprecedented. In addition, concerns about the scope of the bill have been raised. The bill would not include individuals whose convictions were previously upheld by the Court of Appeal.

    Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Bill: HL Bill 73 of 2023–24