Herstmonceux MP, Huw Merriman, spoke in Parliament last week in support of tougher sentencing for those found guilty of assaulting police officers.
Huw recently held discussions with the Sussex Police Federation about the need to reform sentencing on police assaults. He strongly agreed with the Federation that tough sentencing is essential to deter assaults on police officers carrying out their duty and protecting the public from crime. Huw also discussed this issue with senior leaders of Sussex Police during his recent regular update meeting and promised to campaign on the matter.
Last week, Huw spoke in the House of Commons chamber to express his concern that 23,000 assaults on police officers had been recorded last year. Huw asked the Police Minister to put pressure on courts to deliver tougher sentencing and asked the Government to give the Attorney General new powers to review unduly lenient sentences.
The matter was further debated in the House of Commons last Wednesday during the opposition day debate. Huw attended the debate and supported the Government’s amended motion that “any assault on a police officer is unacceptable and welcomes the work of the independent Sentencing Council in producing guidelines that specifically highlight the increased seriousness of an offence committed against anyone providing a public service.”
In another move to support our local police, Huw took the opportunity during Home Office questions to ask the Home Secretary for changes to the police funding formula to take account of the number of elderly people in a particular area. Nationally, cybercrime, fraud and scams continue to grow and are often targeted at elderly and vulnerable people. Sussex Police’s spearheading “Operation Signature” seeks to help and prevent victims of fraud. Since May 2015 high risk fraud victims in Sussex lost an average of £20,000 each. Sussex Police’s research shows that in Sussex 90% of fraud victims are aged over 60 and 64% are aged over 75. This direct link between age and victim demonstrates that more resources are needed to tackle fraud in areas where vulnerable people are at greater risk.
Huw said, “I was pleased to use the House of Commons chamber to champion protection of the police and greater funding for Sussex Police. I was encouraged that the Police Minister agreed to look at my proposal to extend the Government powers to appeal lenient sentences to assaults on the police. With an ageing population, Sussex is targeted by criminals seeking to take advantage of the elderly and vulnerable. If the number of pubs in an area causes police funding to increase, then so should the number of dementia sufferers. I was pleased that the Home Secretary, who herself champions this cause in neighbouring Hastings, gave this suggestion some encouragement."