Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, is backing a campaign to impose life sentences on those who kill emergency service workers on duty.

Earlier this month PCC McGuinness had a virtual meeting with Lissie Harper to discuss the campaign, inspired by the shocking killing of her late husband PC Andrew Harper while on duty.

Andrew, a 28-year-old policeman was dragged to his death by a getaway car in Berkshire in August 2019. In July this year, three teenagers were convicted of manslaughter and received sentences of 16 and 13 years’ imprisonment. The short sentence lengths caused great anger among PC Harper’s family and friends, as well as public outrage.

Since its launch, the Harper’s Law campaign has had widespread support and now has more than 730,000 signatures calling for change.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “We shouldn’t even need to be campaigning for this but the fact that we are is a credit to the dignified determination of PC Andrew Harper’s wife, Lissie. What she has been through is horrific and yet remarkably she has found the strength to fight for really necessary changes to our justice system.

“Protecting the protectors should be a given – it really is common sense. There is, without doubt, a gap in the law that needs filling and it’s long overdue. Emergency workers give so much and deserve so much more.

“As a society we need to offer the greatest protection possible to those who put their lives on the line every day to serve, protect and put the safety of others first. It’s the very least we can do. Nobody should give their life for their job and Lissie and the campaign team know I absolute back them on this. We need a change in the law now.”

Lissie Harper said: “Harper’s Law will mean a person found guilty of killing a police officer, firefighter, nurse, doctor, paramedic or prison officer as a direct result of a crime they have committed would be jailed for life.

“This means that a life sentence would be imposed, asking for a minimum term in prison.

“Let’s be clear: We need strong deterrents and appropriate punishment for heinous crimes. We need to protect our emergency services heroes.”

Welcoming the support from PCC Kim McGuinness, Lissie added: “I’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of support I’ve received for Harper’s Law since I began this journey and it has been great to meet with Police and Crime Commissioners and to receive their backing as we continue our campaign.

“PCCs are there to represent the public and it’s so clear that the people of our country are unhappy with the way we deal with criminals – I’ve been swamped with messages and words of agreement over the despicable outcome following the trial of Andrew’s killers. We all want change, not a small minority of people, but hundreds of thousands of people hope to see Harper’s Law accomplished.

“I remember sitting in court when the verdict came in against those who killed Andrew and feeling totally helpless. I remember feeling so let down by our justice system and the laws that we have in place. It was then, and when it came to sentencing, that I knew that something had to change.

“The justice system is broken and it needs fixing. Together we will achieve Harper’s Law.”

For more information and to sign the Harper’s Law petition visit here.