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‘A step in the right direction’ - Tougher new sentences for attacks on emergency workers welcomed

PUBLISHED: 11:05 16 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:05 16 September 2020

Injuries suffered by Inspector Laura Symonds following attack by Shannon Lovelock. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary.

Injuries suffered by Inspector Laura Symonds following attack by Shannon Lovelock. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary.

Norfolk Constabulary.

The news that those who attack emergency workers are to face tougher sentences has been greeted as ‘a step in the right direction’ by those who represent police officers in Norfolk.

Injuries suffered by Inspector Laura Symonds following attack by Shannon Lovelock. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary.Injuries suffered by Inspector Laura Symonds following attack by Shannon Lovelock. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary.

New sentences of two years in prison for those convicted of assaulting police officers, ambulance workers and firefighters are being introduced after ministers vowed to bring forward legislation doubling the maximum sentence.

Andy Symonds, chairman of the Norfolk Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers in the county, welcomed the news.

“It has been clear from the continued increased in assaults on police officers that the increase in the sentence to one year was not enough,” Mr Symonds said.

“Therefore the government’s announcement that the sentence will increase from one year to two years is a step in the right direction.”

Norfolk Police Federation chairman Andy Symonds. Picture: Police FederationNorfolk Police Federation chairman Andy Symonds. Picture: Police Federation

But he added it was essential that courts, as well as the government, played a part in stopping violent offenders.

He said: “We have to see real consistent tough sentences handed down to the offenders who attack my colleagues.

“We have not seen this, which is one of the main drivers of why we’re seeing year on year rises in assaults.

“Enough is enough, we’re not punch bags, we’re human beings who are parents, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. We happen to wear a uniform and want to police our communities to keep them safe.

Injuries suffered by Inspector Laura Symonds following attack by Shannon Lovelock. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary.Injuries suffered by Inspector Laura Symonds following attack by Shannon Lovelock. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary.

“We accept that our job carries risk but what we can’t accept is being assaulted at work on an almost daily basis and this being allowed to rise year on year without any intervention to stem the tide.”

Lorne Green, Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner, who has also been calling for sentences to be increased to five years, said he did not think the proposed changes would have “no increased deterrent effect” on offenders.

He said: “I believe as a society we should have sentencing for assaults against law and order and those who commit themselves to preserving law and order more commensurate with the abhorrence right-minded people feel at such violations.”

Last week Shannon Lovelock was jailed for four years following a vicious attack on Inspector Laura Symonds and her colleagues while on patrol in Norwich city centre in March last year.


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