Longer prison sentences for assault on emergency service workers

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, has welcomed new guidelines that mean criminals who assault emergency workers could face longer prison sentences.

The maximum prison sentence under the Assault on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act is currently 12 months in prison, but criminals could face up to two years in prison under the new laws.

It is the first time that judges and magistrates will have specific guidance for sentencing assault on emergency worker offences.

Jeff Cuthbert said: “Emergency workers put themselves on the front line every day to protect us and keep us safe. The need for these brave individuals has never been felt more than over the last year, where our emergency services have had to tackle large scale flooding, raging grass fires and mass protests, as well as dealing with the continuing fall out of a global pandemic.

“Assaults on emergency workers have been rising over the last year and these appalling crimes will not be tolerated. Our emergency workers deserve to carry out their duty without being threatened, assaulted and abused.

“The new guidelines will help to ensure that the sentences criminals receive for assaults on emergency workers are more appropriate for the mental and physical harm they have caused.”

More than 4,240 assaults were committed against emergency workers in Wales in the period April 2019 – November 2020, representing a monthly average increase from 202 in 2019 to 222 in 2020, or 10 per cent.

Assaults ranged from kicking, punching and head-butting to spitting and verbal abuse.