Thames Valley’s Police and Crime Commissioner has backed mandatory life sentences for anyone convicted of killing an emergency worker whilst committing a crime.

The Government announced they intended to introduce the penalty following a two-year campaign by the widow of PC Andrew Harper who was killed while answering a late-night burglary call in Sulhamstead, near Reading.

Lissie Harper said she thought her late husband would be proud to see Harper’s Law make it onto the statute book, which is expected next year.

Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Barber said: “The triumph of Lissie’s passionate campaign comes out of the tragedy of Andrew’s killing.

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“His death is still keenly felt by Thames Valley Police and this change in legislation is a fitting tribute to him.”

PC Harper, 28, died from his injuries when he was caught in a strap attached to the back of a car and dragged down a winding country road as three teenagers fled the scene of a quad bike theft on the night of August 15, 2019.

The commissioner continued: “I am well aware of the risks and dangers that our police officers face every day.

“The police will run towards danger to protect the public and they deserve our respect and protection in return.”

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The move extends mandatory life sentences to anyone who commits the manslaughter of an emergency worker on duty – including police, prison officers, firefighters and paramedics – while carrying out another crime unless there are exceptional circumstances. Courts must already impose life sentences for murder, with a whole-life order being the starting point if the victim is a police officer.

Lissie Harper said: “Emergency services workers require extra protection. I know all too well how they are put at risk and into the depths of danger on a regular basis on behalf of society. That protection is what Harper’s Law will provide and I am delighted that it will soon become a reality.

“It’s been a long journey and a lot of hard work. I know Andrew would be proud to see Harper’s Law reach this important milestone.”

“I would also like to thank my incredible Harper’s Law team as well as the public for their unstinting support for such an important campaign. Those who believed that the right thing is worth doing despite the hurdles and challenges that we needed to be overcome.

“And for the families of those that this Law will provide justice for, we’re almost there. Your continued support has kept me pushing forward.”