United Kingdom

UK to introduce severe punishment for killing emergency service workers

02:50, 25 November 2021
UK to introduce severe punishment for killing emergency service workers Photo: NSW Police/police.nsw.gov.au

The so-called Harper’s law implying a life sentence is expected to be passed following a high-profile murder of a police officer on duty.


The British government has endorsed the initiative to give mandatory life sentences to the murderers of emergency workers. The so-called Harper’s law is now expected to be passed in England and Wales as soon as possible.

In case it gets approved, the law will impose mandatory life sentences for the killers of emergency service workers on duty, including police officers, National Crime Agency officers, prison officers, custody officers, firefighters, and paramedics.

The project has been supported by the Ministry of Justice after a two-year campaign launched by the widow of police constable Andrew Harper after her husband was killed by three teenagers in August 2019.

"It's been a long journey and a lot of hard work. I know Andrew would be proud to see Harper's Law reach this important milestone," Lissie Harper said.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab revealed he was astonished by Lissie’s campaign and promised to pass the law in the upcoming months. The change is expected to come into effect via an amendment to the existing Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill to be approved at the beginning of 2022.

"This Government is on the side of victims and their families and we want our emergency services to know that we'll always have their back."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a post on his Twitter account expressing admiration for the widow and confirming the law’s approval.

Andrew Harper, 28 at that time, died from injuries he suffered on August 15, 2019, after allegedly being caught in a strap and dragged along a road by a vehicle.

The wrongdoers Henry Long, 19, Jessie Cole, and Albert Bowers, both 18, were convicted of manslaughter and received terms of 16 years for Long and 13 years for Cole and Bowers.