Police chief backs widow’s campaign for Harper’s Law

One of Britain’s most senior police officers has backed the campaign for life sentences for those who kill emergency services workers.

Chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council Martin Hewitt met with Lissie Harper, the widow of Pc Andrew Harper, on Monday to discuss the plans.

Referring to the recent murder of Metropolitan Police officer Matt Ratana, he said: “Every day, police officers and staff are out in communities keeping people safe, protecting the vulnerable, and dealing with crime and criminals.

“In doing so, they will often place themselves in harm’s way to do their duty and, tragically, as we have seen again in recent weeks, that can result in the ultimate sacrifice.

National Police Chiefs’ Council Chairman Martin Hewitt
National Police Chiefs’ Council Chairman Martin Hewitt

“Those officers and staff deserve the full protection of the criminal justice system, and I support Lissie in driving the consideration on how best this can be achieved.”

Pc Harper died when he was dragged behind a car as he tried to stop a quad bike theft in Berkshire last year.

The driver of the car, Henry Long, 19, and his two passengers Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole, both 18, were cleared of murder and found guilty instead of manslaughter.

Long is set to appeal against his 16-year sentence, while Bowers and Cole are appealing against both their convictions and 13-year sentences.

In a separate move, following a referral by the Attorney General, Court of Appeal judges will also consider whether the jail terms were too lenient.

The sentences sparked Mrs Harper to launch a campaign, dubbed Harper’s Law, to change the law so that anyone convicted of killing an emergency services worker would receive a life sentence with a specified minimum term in prison.