Jail terms to double for attacking emergency workers

People who attack emergency workers are to face tougher new sentences, the government has announced.

Shannon Lovelock. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Shannon Lovelock. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

New sentences of two years in prison for those convicted of assaulting police officers, ambulance workers and firefighters are being introduced after ministers vowed to bring forward legislation doubling the maximum sentence.

It comes amid a clamour of calls for tougher sentences for offenders who attack emergency workers in Norfolk. Last week Shannon Lovelock was jailed for four years following a vicious attack on a police inspector and her colleagues while on patrol in Norwich city centre.

Inspector Laura Symonds suffered a broken nose and fractured eye socket and has permanent damage to her vision, following the attack in King Street, Norwich, in March last year during which colleagues, including Sergeant Graham White, were also attacked and injured.

Lovelock was jailed on Friday after having admitted causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent to Insp Symonds, an offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH) to Sgt White and assault of an emergency officer in relation to biting another officer in the same incident.

The sentencing came just days after 19-year-old Calvin Garwe who was given a six-month jail sentence suspended for two years despite having knocked out an officer he punched in Norwich in July before bragging about it to officers.


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Andy Symonds, chairman of the Norfolk Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers in the county, said the injuries suffered by Insp Symonds were horrific and has been calling for tougher deterrent sentences.

Lorne Green, Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner, has also been pushing for harsher sentences for those who assault police officers and other emergency workers.

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The new law means that when a person is convicted of offences including sexual assault or manslaughter, the judge must consider whether the offence was committed against an emergency worker as an aggravating factor meriting an increase in the sentence.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the new legislation “sends a clear and simple message to these vile thugs - you will not get away with such appalling behaviour and you will be subject to the force of the law”.

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