Workplace Report July 2021

Health & safety - HSE Monitor

New guidelines offer protection for emergency workers

The POA prison officers’ union says judges and magistrates must use new sentencing guidelines introduced on 1 July 2021 to ensure those who assault its members and other emergency service workers receive the maximum tariff sentences available.

The union says revised sentencing guidelines, published by the Sentencing Council, are a major victory for the trade union protect the protectors campaign, which aims to stop attacks on emergency workers. They mean that, for the first time, judges and magistrates in England and Wales will have specific guidance for sentencing offences of assault on emergency workers, reflecting legislation that increased the maximum sentence for common assault when the victim is an emergency worker from six months to 12 months in prison.

The government has pledged to increase the maximum sentence from 12 months to two years through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, although unions are opposing many other aspects of this Bill.