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Stop soft sentences against criminals who attack officers

Police lineTHE Chairman of West Yorkshire’s Police Federation has spoken out about the soft sentences handed to those assaulting police officers – and vowed to make sure those attacking British Bobbies pay the proper price.

Nick Smart spoke out after Joseph McAllister was jailed for throwing acid into the face of Sgt Andrew Heald when he tried to arrest him at a Bradford garage on suspicion of stealing a van.

But just for 20 months.

Mr Smart said: “The offender is already out of prison on licence for committing serious offences. He then commits more offences including throwing acid in an officer’s face and gets a mere 20 months.

“Police officers will see this as no deterrent, and yet another example of a court letting the police down. It undermines us, and does not deter others from assaulting officers.

“The sentence is a disgrace.”

He added: “This was an assault on an officer going about his duty to protect the public and detect crime. I am pleased to say that the officer involved is recovering and is now back at work.”

Mr Smart added: “What we’re seeing time and time again in court is that officers who are assaulted, some quite badly, the offenders are getting off with a minimal sentence.

“I am looking to engage with the Home Office, looking at trying to change sentencing guidelines so that any person who is charged with an offence of assaulting a police officer at whatever level receives the maximum penalty of the law.

“And to apply this consistently, not just across West Yorkshire but nationally as well.”

Mr Smart said he is hoping to use the upcoming PFEW national conference “to raise this as a question with the Home Secretary Theresa May directly”.

McAllister had nine previous convictions for 19 offences and was on licence from a four-and-a-half year jail term for ramming a lorry into a building.

He admitted causing the officer actual bodily harm and dishonestly handling the stolen van.

A victim personal statement from Sgt Heald said he feared he had been blinded and disfigured in the worst attack he had endured since joining the police in 2004.

Date posted: May 11, 2016

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