New law protects emergency and retail workers from violence

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill received Royal Assent and became an Act of Parliament on 28 April 2022. 

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Act equips the police with the powers and tools they need to combat crime and create safer communities, while overhauling sentencing laws to keep serious sexual and violent offenders behind bars for longer. 

New court orders will crack down on knife crime, making it easier to stop and search known knife offenders and prevent future tragedies. Alongside this a new legal duty will be placed on different parts of the public sector to work together to tackle serious violence. 

Also included in the measures are mandatory life sentences for those who kill an emergency worker in the course of their duty, known as Harper’s Law. Other measures include: 

  • Extending the pardons and disregards scheme for abolished same-sex offences 
  • A review of tackling crimes motivated by a victim’s sex or gender 
  • Commissioning reviews into spiking and sex for rent 
  • Giving the Food Standards Agency powers under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 
  • Creating expedited public space protection orders 
  • Creating a new offence of recording breastfeeding without consent 
  • Including online hate offences in football banning orders 
  • Extending the time limit for bringing domestic abuse prosecutions. 

Harper’s Law

Harper’s Law is named after PC Andrew Harper, who was killed in the line of duty in 2019, the law will introduce mandatory life sentences for anyone convicted of killing an emergency worker whilst committing a crime. 

It follows an unwavering campaign by Andrew’s family, including his widow Lissie, and the Police Federation, and comes after a number of meetings with the Justice Secretary and Home Secretary.