Pc Andrew Harper’s widow ‘really glad’ for cross-party campaign support

The widow of Pc Andrew Harper said she is “really glad” to have cross-party support over her campaign for life sentences for those who kill emergency services workers, following a meeting with members of the shadow cabinet.

Lissie Harper met with shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds and shadow police and fire minister Sarah Jones at the House of Commons on Tuesday.

Mr Thomas-Symonds is “keen” to work with the Home Office on proposals for tougher punishments for criminals involved in the deaths of frontline 999 staff, according to Mrs Harper.

Police officer killed in Sulhamstead
Police officer killed in Sulhamstead

Named Harper’s Law in memory of her husband, who was killed on duty last year, the 29-year-old is campaigning for anyone who kills an emergency services worker as a result of a criminal act to receive a life sentence.

Mrs Harper told the PA news agency: “The meeting went really well actually and we’re really glad to have that support.

“It’s really important for Harper’s Law to have that cross-party support.

“I know that they’re keen now to work with the Home Office to see how they can get involved and really make this a law that’s for everyone.

“Because that’s essentially what it is, it’s not just for one party, it’s something that we all can see the benefits of and how important it is.”

On what actions the shadow home secretary said he intended to take, Mrs Harper said: “I think he just wants to work out the finer details, see what everyone can kind of do to keep it going forward.”

Harper's Law campaign
Harper's Law campaign

It follows a meeting last week with Home Secretary Priti Patel and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, at which they offered their support to Mrs Harper.

On any progress that had been made since then, Mrs Harper said the Justice Secretary was currently liaising with his team to “work out how this is going to work”.

“The Justice Secretary, he’s pledged his support in a way and he said that he’s going to go away to his lawyers and to work out how this is going to work,” she told PA.

“And that’s something that we really want to give them a bit of time to do, but of course we’re going to be in discussions for a while about that.”

Police officer killed in Sulhamstead
Police officer killed in Sulhamstead

Separately on Tuesday, Ms Patel was expected to meet with Pc Harper’s mother Debbie Adlam to discuss her campaign for tougher sentences for people who kill police officers.

A Thames Valley Police traffic officer, Pc Harper died when he was caught in a tow rope and dragged along country lanes after trying to stop quad bike thieves in Berkshire in August last year.

Pc Harper’s three teenage killers were cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter after an Old Bailey trial.

Henry Long, 19, has applied for permission to appeal against his 16-year jail sentence, while 18-year-olds Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole are looking to challenge their convictions and 13-year prison terms.

In a separate move, the Attorney General has also referred the jail terms to the Court of Appeal to consider whether they were too lenient.