LISSIE Harper's journey to introduce Harper's Law in memory of her husband Andrew is being supported by the Prison Officers' Association (POA).

The organisation said it is standing 'side by side' with PC Andrew Harper's widow Lissie as she tries to get Harper's Law passed.

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The law would see criminals convicted of killing emergency services workers jailed for life.

General Secretary Steve Gillan met with Lissie and Andy Fiddler from Thames Valley Police (TVP) Federation this week to offer them the Association#s support.

The POA represents more than 30,000 men and women working in jails and secure psychiatric care in the United Kingdom.

Steve said: "It was an honour to meet with Lissie, she is such an incredible person, and to hear more about her important campaign and to offer our full support to it.

"We need tougher sentences to act as a deterrent so we can protect the protectors and their families.

"As an association, we are proud to stand side by side with Lissie and her campaign."

Steve is hopeful that new laws being introduced by the government giving magistrates and judges powers to hand down up to two years in prison to those who assault emergency service workers will sow the seeds for stricter legislation against those who kill.

"The good news is that the Harper's Law campaign seems to have cross-party support," he added.

"There will be bumps in the road from a legal framework point of view and magistrates and judges must use any new powers, but I'm certain the public is fully behind Lissie and Harper's Law."

Steve said he knows POA members would welcome the law making the statute books too.

"Some of our members have come close to losing their lives due to being assaulted at work – it is horrendous," he said.

"Society has become a little bit broken; it's almost a badge of honour if you assault a prison officer or a police officer.

"We need stronger legislation as a deterrent, for the courts to view attacks and assaults seriously, and to ensure the CPS prosecutes when it should do."

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Lissie said: "I've been overwhelmed with the amount of support I've received for Harper's Law.

"It was great to meet with Steve who is a passionate advocate for the safety, welfare and wellbeing of prison officers.

"We look forward to working with Steve and The Prison Officers' Association as the campaign continues."

The Harper's Law campaign – which has the full backing of the Police Federation of England and Wales - was launched by Lissie after TVP officer husband Andrew was tragically killed on duty in August last year.

The perpetrators Henry Long, Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole, were convicted of manslaughter but cleared of murder. Long was jailed for 16 years and Bowers and Cole for 13 years.

The Attorney General is currently reviewing their sentences to see if they were too lenient.

"I understand the sentences, in this case, are under review, but I - like most people - was shocked to see the lenient sentences which were given," Steve said.

Harper's Law will mean a person found guilty of killing a police officer, firefighter, nurse, doctor, paramedic or prison officer as a direct result of a crime they have committed then they would be jailed for life.

This means that a life sentence would be imposed, asking for a minimum term in prison.

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Lissie has met with Home Secretary Priti Patel and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland to discuss her plans for Harper's Law and has also achieved cross party support as Labour has backed her campaign.

The matter is now being worked on with Civil Servants.

Lissie added: "It's so clear to see that the people of our country are unhappy with the way we deal with criminals – I've been swamped with messages and words of agreement over the despicable outcome following the trial of Andrew's killers.

"We all want change, not a small minority of people, but hundreds of thousands of people hope to see Harper's Law accomplished.

"I remember sitting in court when the verdict came in against those who killed Andrew and feeling totally helpless.

"I remember feeling so let down by our justice system and the laws that we have in place.

"It was then, and when it came to sentencing, that I knew that something had to change.

"We need strong deterrents and appropriate punishment for heinous crimes."