Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020

PC’s widow ‘hopeful’ Priti Patel will support Harper’s Law to protect 999 heroes

She said that the whole country is behind her drive for a new law to protect emergency service personnel from violence and abuse. PC Harper, 28, was killed last August when he was dragged behind a car after responding to a 999 call. His three killers were cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter at the Old Bailey last month. Driver Henry Long was jailed for 16 years and his two accomplices, Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole, for 13 years each.

Harper’s Law, which this newspaper is backing, calls for the killers of emergency services workers to be given mandatory life sentences.

Mrs Harper said that inadequate sentences may embolden criminals and called on society to understand what frontline heroes face every day.

The police killer of a policeman to have been given a whole-life order in the past decade is Dale Cregan, who gunned down two female officers in 2012.

Mrs Harper said that there was “no deterrent” to people intent on injuring or killing emergency workers.

Now Mrs Harper wants Priti Patel to discuss how the Government can change the law. She said: “The Home Secretary has always been behind the police and everything they do.

“We are quite hopeful she’ll listen to what we are trying to get across.

“I would like to say to the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister that the whole country is behind this.

“What we really want is to sit down with them so that I can share what my experiences have been in the court case, what we have to go through to see the defendants and then the inadequate sentence and verdict.

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“All emergency services need our support and protection. That is something people are starting to realise.

“When Andrew died people said, ‘Look at what the police do’. Then with Covid, we started to appreciate our NHS.

“Every officer knows there’s a level of risk. They get a fair amount of training. Andrew would do all the training he could to progress. He had faced dangerous situations, encountering people with weapons, knives.

“We need to realise just what these people go through on a daily basis. It is not just police officers or paramedics.

“It is firefighters and prison officers as well. They should have protection.”

Mrs Harper added: “Andrew loved his job and was very good at it. He just wanted to protect people.

“Harper’s Law is so important to me and I want to do it for him. And I know that he would be right there with me, he could, and he will be.”

Referrig to her husband’s killers, who caused outrage with their casual joking behaviour in court, she added: “On the outside they may not show any sort of remorse, but I hope that in some way they feel guilt inside.”

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