Focus on ‘Dangerous Dogs’

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The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s report ‘Controlling dangerous dogs’ calls for a full-scale review of current dog control legislation and policy to better protect the public. The report was published on 17 October 2018.

 

Is there a problem?

According to the Committee, yes.

In 1991 the Dangerous Dogs Act outlawed certain breeds/types of dog to protect the public from attacks, but since then the number of yearly fatalities has continued to rise.

Hospital admissions for dog attacks have increased by 81% since 2005. An unacceptably high number of victims suffer horrific life-changing injuries in these incidents. Even where no physical injury occurs, dog aggression can cause significant psychological distress.

At the same time, too many harmless dogs are being destroyed every year because they are banned and cannot be re-homed, even if they are well tempered and pose no risk to the public.

The Government has maintained that the breed ban is essential to public safety, arguing that these prohibited dogs pose an inherent risk. This inquiry found insufficient evidence to substantiate this claim.

The Committee agrees with the Government that it would be irresponsible to amend the breed ban immediately without adequate safeguards, but ‘that does not mean that the Government should continue to sit on its hands.’

The report argues that changing the law on Breed Specific Legislation is desirable, achievable, and would better protect the public, and that ‘…the Government’s lack of action on this front shows a disregard for dog welfare.’

 

What action needs to be taken?

The report makes the following recommendations:

  • immediately remove the prohibition on transferring a banned dog if it has been behaviourally assessed by experts and found to be safe. This would prevent the needless destruction of friendly animals that could be safely re-homed;
  • commission an independent evidence review to establish whether the banned breeds/types present an inherently greater risk than any legal breed or cross breed;
  • commission a comprehensive review of existing dog control legislation and policy, with a view to developing an alternative model that focuses on prevention though education, early intervention, and consistently robust sanctions for offenders;
  • ensure all future strategies are developed with a full and transparent commitment to evidence-based policy-making. If the independent evidence review concludes there is insufficient evidence to support the Government’s position on Breed Specific Legislation, this aspect of the law should be revised;
  • introduce mandatory training and education courses for minor dog offences, similar to speed awareness courses for drivers;
  • support wider dog awareness training for schoolchildren, and run a targeted awareness campaign for dog owners and the general public on safe human-dog interaction;
  • increase support for local authorities and police forces to ensure they have the capacity to fulfil their duties; and
  • engage with international partners to learn lessons and best practice from abroad.

 

Will anything change as a result of this report?

It remains to be seen how if at all, the government will respond to this latest report.

Sentencing for dangerous dogs’ offences already results in severe sentences, but the focus here is more on trying to ensure that harm is not caused in the first place.

 

How we can assist?

Dog owners are often unfairly stigmatised and face severe punishment if found guilty of dangerous dog offences.

The legislation is extremely complex, but our solicitors have an in-depth knowledge of this area of law.

If you face investigation or prosecution it is important that you seek early advice. Pplease contact us on 0113 247 1477 or email us at [email protected].

Publishing, or having for publication for gain, an obscene article

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Prosecuting those who publish obscene articles (an offence under section 2 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959) is hardly prudish, despite what certain commentators would argue.

The maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment will frequently be warranted for activities which have disturbing and harmful knock-on effects.

Laws of this type remind us that free-speech and expression is subject to lawful limitations.

 

Legislation

According to section 1 of the 1959 Act, one must decide whether the effect of the object in question is:

“…such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it.”

An important line taken in the case law is that an article must go beyond simply being rude or disgusting; the impact upon those who deal with it is central to the question.

 

Defining the terms

In Calder & Boyars Ltd (1968) 52 Cr App R 706, the court considered that the term ‘obscenity’ could encompass a wide range of misconduct.

It has also been noted that while not everybody must be offended or influenced by the material, far from it actually, the effect must be more than minuscule: DPP v Whyte [1972] AC 849.

Regarding what ‘article’ can encompass, it is virtually anything capable of displaying some kind of information and/or broadcasting audio and video content. That description includes things which are not primarily made for these purposes.

The term ‘publish’ has been interpreted remarkably widely; a single sale made by a developer of obscene photographs or creator of paedophilic writing to one customer can constitute publication: Taylor [1995] 1 Cr App R 131; GS [2012] EWCA Crim 398.

Moreover, the court decided in Sheppard [2010] EWCA Crim 65 that it was “fundamentally misconceived” to argue that ‘publication’ requires a ‘publishee’. It emphasised that this is a separate body of rules from libel law, so applying the same approach is wrong.

 

Experts

While expert evidence is generally inadmissible in terms of what constitutes something obscene, it may be employed where the jury would otherwise not understand the effects of the obscenity upon a particular group: DPP v A & BC Chewing Gum Ltd [1968] 1 QB 159.

 

How we can help

If you have further questions about this offence or require advice and/or representation in relation to allegations of this kind, please contact us on 0113 247 1477 or email us at [email protected].

Can I get a reduced sentence by helping the police?

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You may have heard about ‘texts’ or a ‘Brown envelope to the Judge’, some of the names for the old system.

If you helped the police a ‘text’ may be handed to the sentencing judge explaining that you had assisted and a reduction in sentence may have followed. It was a murky world, clouded in some secrecy and that few people properly understood.

 

Formal system

A formal statutory system has now been put in place to regulate reduction in sentence for a defendant who aids the authorities, although the ‘text’ regime is still around.

The aim of the new regime is to govern assistance provided and the benefits that might flow as a result.

The old principles (the text) remain in use as it has always been the case that anyone convicted of a crime will receive credit against sentence for assistance rendered to the police or authorities.

 

Requirements under the new regime

The key features of the statutory scheme are:

  • The offender must admit the full extent of his own criminality before the statutory framework can begin to apply, and he must agree to participate in a formalised process which has its own immediate purposes intended to avoid some of the problems which the earlier processes could create.
  • Provided the offender admits the full extent of his criminality the process is not confined to offenders who provide assistance in relation to crimes in which they participated, or were accessories, or with which they are linked.
  • This is largely a new process in which a post-sentence review of the sentence passed in the Crown Court can be reviewed in a judicial process on a reference back to the court by the prosecutor. That does not prevent there being such an analysis during a Crown Court sentencing decision.
  • The decision whether a reduction in sentence should follow a post-sentence agreement is vested in the judge sitting in the Crown Court. The court is able to take into account the specific post-sentence situation. That is quite different from the former practice.
  • If in the end the offender fails to comply with his agreement, that does not itself constitute a crime but he is liable to be brought back to the court and deprived of the reduction of sentence which has been allowed or would have been allowed if he had complied with the agreement in full.

 

New versus old

Following the new regime, rather than the old text regime, may result in a greater discount in sentence. There is no guarantee, however, that providing information will result in a reduction in sentence, it would very much depend on the nature of the information, how it can be used, and whether action can be taken by the police as a result (particularly action that might result in others being prosecuted).

It is important to note that as the formal regime requires full admissions of any criminality on your part that this may result in further charges being brought against you or further offences to be taken into consideration on sentence. There is a careful decision to be made here.

 

How will I know if it has been taken into account?

The law says that if you are given a reduction in your sentence you have to be told that you have been given a lesser sentence and you must also be told what the greater sentence would have been. You will then know exactly how much of a reduction you were given.

 

How we can help

The decision is not an easy one, nor is the process, because of the potential consequences, which may include having to attend court as a witness, or receiving a longer initial sentence.

It is vital, therefore, that you obtain expert advice before speaking to the police. If this is something that you wish to discuss, please contact us on 0113 247 1477 or email us at [email protected].

Solicitor – A Brand That You Can Trust

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A solicitor is there to help advise you on the law, to guide you through difficult times, explain, advise and represent you. But who tells us what to do and ensures that you receive a proper service?

The Solicitors Regulation Authority

The SRA regulate solicitors and law firms in England and Wales, but what does this actually mean?

The SRA publish a Handbook that is made up of the Principles and a Code of Conduct.

The principles say that we must:

• uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice
• act with integrity
• not allow our independence to be compromised
• act in the best interest of each client
• provide a proper standard of service to our clients
• behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in us and the provision of legal services
• comply with our legal and regulatory obligations and deal with our regulators and ombudsmen in an open, timely and co-operative manner
• run our business or carry out our role in the business effectively and in accordance with proper governance and sound financial and risk management principles
• run our business or carry out our role in the business in a way that encourages equality of opportunity and respect for diversity, and
• protect client money and assets.

The SRA can act if any of the principles are breached; action ranges from issuing a warning to intervening in the firm and closing it with immediate effect.

The Code of Conduct outlines the professional standards that are expected from the individuals and the firms that they regulate.

These standards list indicative behaviours as examples of how particular outcomes can be achieved.

The indicative behaviours demonstrate how we might be able to provide the right outcomes for our clients but enabling us to be flexible as to how we operate.

Finally, the Handbook contains a series of rules that must be abided by.

These include account rules to protect the money that we hold, authorisation and practising requirements and client protection.

They also set qualification standards for solicitors, monitor the performance of training organisations, assess the character and suitability of the individuals they regulate and administer the roll (list) of solicitors.

The SRA has the power to take enforcement action where there is a failure to co-operate or a significant risk to consumers or the public.

Complaints

The SRA do not, however, deal with complaints against firms or solicitors from the general public.

In the first instance, a complaint has to be made to a firm and then it can be referred to the Legal Ombudsman if it is not dealt with to your satisfaction.

All this adds up to an insurance backed assurance of receiving the highest quality advice and representation – don’t trust your case to anyone else.

Can We Help?

If you have any further questions or would like to discuss any aspect of your case, please contact us on 0113 247 1477 or email us at [email protected].

Companies and Bribery

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Section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010 makes it an offence for a company to bribe another with the intent of obtaining or retaining business or to gain an advantage in business.

The first conviction after trial for an offence under this section was that of Skansen Interiors Ltd who were convicted of failing to have adequate provisions in place to prevent bribery.

Two directors received prison sentences for offences under the Bribery Act 2010, and the company faced this offence under section 7.

 

What did they do?

The allegation was that the company paid a large fee to obtain confidential information to give them an advantage when tendering for an office refurbishment project.

A new CEO launched an internal investigation when he became aware of the arrangement and he implemented a new anti-bribery policy.

Despite that policy being put in place one of the directors still tried to make the final payment on the arrangement. As a result, the company self-reported to the police and National Crime Agency.

 

What about the directors?

The two directors were charged with offences under sections 1 and 2 of the Bribery Act, one was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, the other to 20 months’ imprisonment, both were disqualified as being directors, for 6 and 7 years respectively.

 

Was there an alternative to prosecution?

By self-reporting the company could have been offered an agreement to pay a fine so that they would not be prosecuted if they complied (a Deferred Prosecution Agreement).

In this case the company was, by then, dormant so they could not have paid. Although the prosecution was queried by a Judge, the decision to continue with the prosecution was made to send a message to small companies that bribery needs to be taken seriously, and to make sure that procedures and policies were put in place by them.

 

What was their defence?

The offence under section 7 relates to a company failing to prevent bribery, the company relied on the defence that they had “adequate provision” in place but were convicted after trial.

 

Is there guidance anywhere for my business?

Guidance is available from the Ministry of Justice regarding the types of bribery prevention procedures that companies should have in place –

https://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/legislation/bribery-act-2010-guidance.pdf

 

How can we help?

If you face an investigation or proceedings involving the Bribery Act or any criminal offence as a company, director or employee please contact us on 0113 247 1477 or email us at [email protected].

Contempt of Court

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The case of Tommy Robinson, or to give him his real name, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, has brought this issue into the public eye, but what is it all about?

 

What is contempt of court?

The interesting thing about contempt of court is the many ways in which it can be committed. It can be civil or criminal in nature. This means that conduct that is not itself a criminal offence but is punishable by the court. Criminal contempt goes beyond simple non-compliance.

 

Give me some examples

In Yaxley-Lennon’s case, it was his reporting and commenting on a trial which was in progress with the potential to prejudice those proceedings. He had previously committed the same contempt by attempting to film defendants within the precincts of a court last year.

In a case in Sheffield, contempt of court was committed by protestors who had given an undertaking not to go within a safety zone erected around trees that were to be controversially felled.

In the civil court a freezing order was made against Andrew Camilleri, he breached that order on a number of occasions which led the claimant to make an application to the court for committal for contempt of court. A further case involving breaches of freezing orders made in the civil court was that of Davies, involving persistent, deliberate breaches.

A witness who refused to give evidence after ignoring a witness summons and being brought to court found himself on the wrong side of contempt of court proceedings.

A defendant who had an outburst in court during his sentence hearing, then refused to apologise, followed by another outburst, was dealt with for two contempt of court offences, in addition to the offence for which he was already being sentenced.

A lady took photographs inside a court building, of a defendant and friends making ‘gestures of defiance and contempt’ inside the court precincts with the court notice board behind them. The defendant was also found to be in contempt for inciting the taking of the photograph.

So, tread carefully, it is easy to find yourself in the dock.

 

What can I get?

Up to two years imprisonment at the crown court or one month at the magistrates’ court (although it can be up to 2 months in relation to some civil orders.

Yaxley-Lennon received ten months imprisonment for his latest offence to be served consecutively to three months imprisonment for the offence last year as he had been on a suspended sentence for that, this is currently subject to appeal.

Two of the tree protestors received suspended prison sentences of two months.

Camilleri was fined £100,000 whilst Davies was given a sentence of 12 months immediate imprisonment.

The witness who refused to give evidence was given 12 months imprisonment, reduced to three months on appeal.

The defendant with his repeated outburst was given three- and six-months imprisonment consecutive to each other, and also to the 20 months for the original offences.

The photograph taking offender was given 21 days imprisonment, the defendant who incited the taking of it was given 28 days.

 

How can we help?

It can be seen that there are some contempts that the general public may not even realise could land them in trouble with the courts. We are experts in this area and can advise and represent you. Please contact us on 0113 247 1477 or email us at [email protected] if you would like to discuss any aspect of your case.

Private Probation Providers Fail Offenders and Society

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A few years ago, the National Probation Service was split into two. The existing service maintained its supervision of high-risk offenders, mainly those serving lengthy sentences or with complex rehabilitation needs, the remaining offenders, by far the vast majority, are supervised by companies which bid to carry out rehabilitation work, with payment mechanisms often linked to success.

These arrangements have been subject to intense scrutiny in recent months, and the findings are grim, to say the least.

This is of concern because many offenders commit crime due to underlying circumstances, which if not resolved will inevitably lead to subsequent offending. For example, drug, alcohol and mental health treatment programmes must work if the cycle of offending is to be broken.

A report this week looked at another group of offenders, those who commit offences of domestic violence or abuse.

Domestic abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been, intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.

The abuse can encompass psychological, physical, sexual, financial and/or emotional harm.

Domestic abuse is the context within which an offence takes place rather than an offence.

There is no single offence of domestic abuse. Rather, a range of offences feature the behaviours exhibited as part of the pattern of domestic abuse. These include:

  • physical violence
  • psychological or emotional harm
  • sexual violence
  • ‘honour-based’ violence (for example forced marriage)6
  • harassment
  • stalking
  • gang violence
  • sharing or distributing intimate private videos or photographs of another person without their permission (so-called ‘revenge porn’)
  • coercive and controlling behaviour.

An estimated two million people experienced domestic abuse last year.

A good proportion of people in receipt of probation services are domestic abusers, and domestic abuse constitutes a sizeable proportion of the work of Community Rehabilitation Companies.

This group has been shown to have some of the most complex needs in terms of rehabilitation, rehabilitation that is vital to protect the public and set the offender on a path that allows them to move beyond their troubled past.

Regrettably, yet another report makes grim reading, these are some of its findings:

“Overall, practitioners were not empowered to deliver a good-quality domestic abuse service. They had unmanageable workloads and many needed more training and oversight. Inexperienced probation workers had full and complex caseloads and, because of the emphasis on remote working in some CRCs, they were unable to obtain support from their colleagues. The lack of knowledge, skill and time dedicated to managing domestic abuse led to considerable shortfalls in the quality of case management.

Many assessments were superficial. The tools that staff were using to complete assessments did not always help them to analyse and assess their cases thoroughly.

This left them without the necessary understanding of the context of the domestic abuse and the factors linked to the behaviours in the case. Some plans were helpful and included appropriately sequenced, individualised objectives, but this was not common practice.

Some of the CRCs’ work to protect victims (and especially children) was of grave concern. There was little correlation between the vision CRCs had for victims and the quality of practice.

Many probation workers did not fully understand the effect of domestic abuse on families or the relevance of an integrated approach to managing risk of harm. As such, they focused their work solely on the individual. Assessments and plans lacked depth: the voice and needs of victims, and information from partner agencies, were not analysed sufficiently and used to inform work to reduce risk of harm. Probation workers relied too much on the decisions of other agencies, such as children’s social care and the NPS, about levels of risk of harm and safeguarding, without checking their validity. As such, they were not always able to make effective decisions about how to protect victims and children. They often failed to see the monitoring of external controls, such as restraining orders, or undertaking home visits, as an integral part of their work.”

 

Why does this matter?

We see many clients who bitterly regret their offending behaviour and seek help in addressing the underlying causes. A society that does not assist offenders to rehabilitate bears a heavy cost, both financial and worse. All policymakers must address the concerns in recent reports as a matter of urgency.

Please contact us on 0113 247 1477 or email us at [email protected] for assistance with any criminal law related enquiry.

Is being sexist or misogynist a crime?

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The answer is sometimes, but not always.

Two years ago, Nottinghamshire Police decided to label misogyny and offences targeting women as hate crime or hate incidents. Two local universities recently undertook a report entitled “The Misogyny Hate Crime Evaluation” report which recommends rolling out the policy nationally.

Misogyny hate crime is defined as “incidents against women that are motivated by the attitude of men towards women and includes behaviour targeted at women by men simply because they are women.”

This definition can include behaviour that is not criminal; these are recorded as hate incidents rather than hate crime, so something such as wolf-whistling may be recorded as a hate incident.

The policy does not criminalise that behaviour, but it may result in a discussion, for example, with building site managers if their workers are behaving that way.

In Belgium, however, such behaviour can be criminal. A man has been convicted under a new law which does criminalise sexism. He was stopped driving a car for breaking the highway code and told the female police officer to do a job “adapted to women”. He was fined €3,000 for insulting the officer because of her gender.

The offence in Belgium is expressing contempt toward a person because of their sexuality or treating them as inferior due to their sexuality; if it entails a serious attack on their dignity, it is punishable by up to 12 months in prison.

In France, they are preparing to create an offence of street harassment that is “sexist and sexual outrage”. Meanwhile, in Stockholm sexist advertising has been banned while the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has attempted to ban body shaming adverts.

UK chief constables met in July and to discuss the issue and whether the policy in Nottinghamshire would be rolled out. MPs are also to vote on whether misogyny should be made a hate crime. The developments in the UK and other countries demonstrates how the law is continually evolving. It may be that this will be an aggravating feature of an offence when sentencing or disposal is dealt with.

 

How can we help?

You can be assured that we stay up to date as the law changes and will be able to provide you with expert, tailored advice. If you have been accused of any crime we can assist you, if you would like advice on any aspect of your case please contact us on 0113 247 1477 or email us at [email protected].

Do I have to give the police my phone PIN?

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The simple answer is no, but there are potential consequences in certain circumstances.

 

When can they ask?

It is arguable that the police could ask you whenever they wanted for your PIN, you can always say no. The critical issue is whether they can take further action if you say no.

 

When can they take further action?

Section 49 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 contains the relevant power.

If your phone has been seized, or in circumstances where they have the power to inspect it, the police can give you notice that they require you to provide the PIN or “encryption key” to allow them access. The same applies to other devices such as computers.

Written permission must be obtained from a Judge or a District Judge for the giving of a notice under section 49, this then provides “appropriate permission”.

The person with “appropriate permission” requesting the information must believe, on reasonable grounds:

(1)    that the key or PIN is in your possession;

(2)    that the notice is necessary for the grounds listed below, or it is necessary for the purpose of securing the effective exercise or proper performance by any public authority of any statutory power or duty

(3)    the notice is proportionate; and

(4)    that it is not reasonably practicable for the person to obtain possession of the protected information without the giving of a notice.

A notice is necessary (as in (2) above) if it is necessary:

(1)    in the interests of national security;

(2)    for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime or

(3)    it is in the interests of the economic well-being of the UK.

 

What would “notice” be?

A notice has to be in writing (or otherwise recorded), set out the protected information to which it relates, set out the grounds for requiring it (as above), specify the office, rank or position of the person giving it, specify the office, rank or position of the person granting permission for it to be given, specify the time by which the notice is to be complied with, and finally, what disclosure is required and how it is to be provided.

What is concerning is that people are very often given documents that leave the impression that giving the passcode is compulsory, when in fact they are mere requests not authorised by any higher body – you should always seek the advice of a solicitor before complying with any request.

 

What if I do not know the PIN or still don’t want to give it?

If you do not comply with a properly given notice, you can be prosecuted. If you know the information required and refuse to provide it, you can be sentenced to a maximum of 2 years imprisonment or 5 years imprisonment for an offence involving national security or child indecency.

If you genuinely do not know the information you can put this forward as a defence to the offence.

The legislation says that a person will be taken as not being in possession of a key (or PIN) if “sufficient evidence of that fact is adduced to raise an issue with respect to it and the contrary is not proved beyond a reasonable doubt”.

 

What sentences have been given?

Andrew Garner failed to comply with a notice, he said that he had forgotten the PIN but was found guilty and given eighteen months imprisonment. Tajan Spaulding pleaded guilty after refusing to provide the PIN for his iPhones and was given eight months imprisonment. Stephen Nicholson was given 14 months imprisonment for failing to provide his Facebook password to the police during the investigation into the murder of Lucy McHugh.

 

How can we help?

People have been to prison for not providing the PIN for their phone; the consequences can be severe, but this article is only a simple overview of the power.

We can advise you whether the notice is lawfully made, if it is made in appropriate circumstances and whether you have a defence to put forward.

Obtaining advice at an early stage is crucial. If you would like to discuss any aspect of your case, please contact us on 0113 247 1477 or email us at [email protected].

Assaults on Emergency Workers

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Is there a specific offence?

Until now the only specific offence has been that of assaulting a police officer. This is a summary only offence which carries a maximum of 6 months imprisonment.

There has always been an option to charge an offender with more serious offences, such as actual or grievous bodily harm, if the injury to the officer is more serious, and this will remain the case.

However, most lower level assaults against emergency workers have had to be charged as common assault – an offence carrying a maximum of 6 months imprisonment.

What is changing?

A new law has been passed which will create a new category of common assault – assaulting an emergency worker in the exercise of their functions.

If your neighbour was a police officer and you got into a dispute and assaulted them, the new provisions would not be triggered as they would not at that time be acting as a police officer (‘in the exercise of their functions’), but if you assaulted a police officer while being arrested, the provisions would be triggered.

The Assault on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018 will come into force in November 2018.

Who will this cover?

“emergency worker” means—

(a) a constable;
(b) a person (other than a constable) who has the powers of a constable or is otherwise employed for police purposes or is engaged to provide services for police purposes;
(c) a National Crime Agency officer;
(d) a prison officer;
(e) a person (other than a prison officer) employed or engaged to carry out functions in a custodial institution of a corresponding kind to those carried out by a prison officer;
(f) a prisoner custody officer, so far as relating to the exercise of escort functions;
(g) a custody officer, so far as relating to the exercise of escort functions;
(h) a person employed for the purposes of providing, or engaged to provide, fire services or fire and rescue services;
(i) a person employed for the purposes of providing, or engaged to provide, search services or rescue services (or both);
(j) a person employed for the purposes of providing, or engaged to provide—
(i) NHS health services, or
(ii) services in the support of the provision of NHS health services, and whose general activities in doing so involve face to face interaction with individuals receiving the services or with other members of the public.

It is immaterial whether the employment or engagement is paid or unpaid.

What is the penalty?

The maximum penalty will increase from 6 to 12 months’ imprisonment.

Is there any further effect?

The legislation will also create a statutory aggravating factor. This means that if a different offence is charged (such as actual bodily harm, for example) where the victim is an emergency worker, it will be seen as an aggravating factor which merits an increase in the sentence to be imposed.

Within the current sentencing guidelines, it is already an aggravating factor to assault a person serving the public, but the legislation will put the position on a statutory basis.

Why is this happening?

There has been an increase in assaults on emergency workers in recent years. Government statistics reportedly show 26,000 assaults on police officers in the last year and 17,000 on NHS staff. There has been an increase of 18% in assaults on firefighters in the previous 2 years and a 70% increase on assault on prison officers in the last 3 years up to 2017.

As a result of these increases, new legislation was proposed, and this will be the first time there is a specific offence extending protection to those carrying out the work of an emergency service. Whether this sentence increase will deter assaults remains to be seen, with most commentators being sceptical at best.

How can we help?

We are always up to date with the most recent changes in legislation, and we can advise you from the police station through to court. Early advice is essential, if you would like to discuss any aspect of your case please contact us on 0113 247 1477 or email us at [email protected].