Tougher Sentences for Attacks on Police and Volunteer Emergency Workers
Thursday, 26th April 2012 at 12:00 pm
Photo courtesy CFA
The Victorian Coalition Government will legislate for longer jail sentences for people who attack police officers or emergency workers, including volunteer emergency workers, while they are carrying out their duties.
The increased sentences will apply to offenders who attack workers including police, ambulance officers, fire-fighters, protective services officers, volunteers CFA, SES workers or lifesavers, as well as nurses, doctors or other staff in hospital emergency departments.
“People who inflict serious injuries on police or emergency workers will be jailed for an additional 12 months, on top of whatever sentence would otherwise apply,” Attorney-General Robert Clark said today.
Assaults causing less serious injuries will attract at least six months’ imprisonment, and those convicted of murdering a police officer or emergency worker will face an additional five years in jail.
The Attorney-General says each additional penalty will form part of the offender’s minimum non-parole period in addition to the sentence the court would otherwise impose, and will apply save in narrowly defined exceptional circumstances, such as serious mental illness.
“Victorians are fortunate that we have many dedicated police officers, front line medical personnel and other emergency workers who devote their careers or hours of unpaid voluntary time to helping others,” Clark said.
“When police and emergency workers are on duty, they are working to serve the community. An attack on a police officer or emergency worker is an attack on our whole community. Police and emergency workers deserve the community’s protection and support against such attacks.
“The sentences applying to the existing offences of assaulting a police officer in the due execution of duty or assaulting an ambulance officer providing or attempting to provide care or treatment are woefully
“These offences only set maximum penalties, and at present only a small proportion of offenders actually end up in jail. Under our reforms, save in narrowly defined exceptional circumstances, anyone who attacks and injures a police officer or emergency worker will go to jail.
Both the Police Association and the ambulance union have previously called for greater protection for their members from attacks and violence.
The West Australian Government introduced tougher penalties for those convicted of injuring police officers while carrying out their duties.
A spokesperson for the Victorian Government says the WA law has seen a 40% drop off in police assaults since it was introduced.
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