Life should mean life for cop attackers

12 August 2016

As the last of the wreaths was laid today honouring three police officers gunned down in cold blood 50 years ago the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) renewed calls for offenders who attack police to be given jail terms fitting their crime.

PFEW Chair Steve White was speaking as the families of DS Christopher Head, DC David Wombwell and PC Geoffrey Fox gathered for a memorial service at the site of the 1966 Braybrook Street killings.

Mr White said: “Three criminals opened fire on the unarmed officers, leaving their children fatherless and their wives widows. One died in prison, another was released 15 years ago and the third, who came out of jail in 2014, was free to take his driving test just months later. Meanwhile relatives of the fallen officers have been condemned to a life sentence without their loved ones.

“And police officers are still losing their lives and being maimed on the streets. Only this morning a man appeared by video link at  Sheffield Crown Court charged with the attempted murder of a Sheffield police officer in April this year.

“We’ve got the law changed so that those convicted of murdering police officers will now be sentenced to life but now we say there should be harsher sentences for thugs who assault police officers instead of the punishment-lite that we see all too often.”

Earlier this year teenage car thief Clayton Williams was jailed for 20 years after the hit-and-run killing of Merseyside  PC Dave Phillips, a father of two. Williams, who had 33 convictions by age 18, was cleared of murder and instead convicted of manslaughter. He is likely to be released in just 10 years time, when he is 29.

 Mr White was speaking after a trainee doctor was given a conditional discharge last month for assaulting a police officer. In the Sheffield case, the female officer suffered fractured skull and broken leg after being attacked with an axe.

Mr White said: “The latest Government figures show that there were 23,000 assaults on police officers last year. That’s 63 a day and quite frankly, that’s unacceptable. Assaults should not just be ‘part of the job’ and derisory sentences – which is what we have come to accept – are not deterrents.”

The Police Federation is mounting a campaign to seek more severe sentences for offenders who attack police and is in talks with the Home Office to try to change the sentencing guidelines.

***The Braybrook Massacre in West London, as an outraged nation called it in 1966, was the worst atrocity to befall the police service until the 1983 Harrods bombing, and led to the formation of the Police Dependants’ Trust (PDT) charity.  Today wreaths were due to be laid by Ken Marsh, Chair of the Metropolitan Police Federation, Gill Scott-Moore, PDT chief executive and Met Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey.