The widow of hero PC Andrew Harper has launched the Harper’s Law campaign, which calls for criminals convicted of killing emergency services workers to spend the rest of their lives in jail.
Lissie Harper has vowed to fight for a change in the law in memory of her late husband, so that anyone killing a police officer, firefighter, nurse, doctor, prison officer or paramedic is jailed for life.
Brian Booth, Chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “Under no circumstances should killers of our valuable emergency workers be able to walk free. The tragic case of PC Andrew Harper has again highlighted how the legal system is broken, when killers receive lenient sentences.
“The shockwave of Andrew’s killing was felt throughout the policing family here in West Yorkshire. I attended his funeral in Oxford on behalf of my colleagues, to pay our respects, and it was a very sad day.
“West Yorkshire Police Federation strongly supports Lissie’s campaign and I would urge all those who value our brave emergency workers to support it too.”
Lissie said: “Our justice system is broken. And we need Harper’s Law to help fix it. I have witnessed first-hand the lenient and insufficient way in which the justice system deals with criminals who take the lives of our emergency workers.
“Sadly nothing I do will bring Andrew back – but I know he would be proud of me for seeking to bring about a law change, which will hopefully act as a deterrent to anyone considering doing to one of his fellow emergency service workers the terrible thing that happened to him.
“Harper’s Law will ensure those that commit these offences aren’t out again on the streets in a matter of weeks while the families of the victims suffer their own life sentences. That would be far more just.”
She added: “I have been overwhelmed by the thousands of people from across the country who have publicly backed our campaign since we announced its launch and I would like to thank everyone for their support and their messages. We will continue to need public backing as we progress.”
In 2013, then Home Secretary Theresa May told hundreds of police officers at the Police Federation Annual Conference that criminals who kill a police officer should automatically face life in prison without parole.
She said: “We ask police officers to keep us safe by confronting and stopping violent criminals for us. We ask them to take risks so that we don’t have to. That is why I am clear that: life should mean life for anyone convicted of killing a police officer.” But nothing ever came of it.
Newly married Thames Valley Police officer PC Andrew Harper was killed on 15 August last year by Henry Long, Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole. The trio were convicted of manslaughter last month but cleared of murder.
Long was jailed for 16 years and Bowers and Cole for 13 years. The Attorney General has referred the sentences to the Court of Appeal for being unduly lenient.
The Harper’s Law campaign has the full backing of the PFEW.
PFEW Chair John Apter said: “The killing of a police officer should see those responsible face the rest of their lives in prison.
“This campaign would be Andrew’s legacy and we will continue to support Lissie in her efforts to seek justice and change the law for the greater good.”
Date posted: September 12, 2020