HAMPSHIRE’S Police Federation has backed government calls for people who kill police officers to get whole-life prison sentences.
Chairman of the federation John Apter spoke out after Home Secretary Theresa May addressed the annual Police Federation conference in Bournemouth.
She announced proposals for sentencing guidelines of life meaning life if an officer is killed in the line of duty.
Mr Apter said: ‘Both police officers and the public should have confidence that when somebody takes the life of a police officer then the maximum prison sentence available in this country should be imposed and life should mean life.
‘What I would want to emphasis is that I’m not suggesting that the life of a police officer is worth more than anyone else – it’s the role. ‘The courts and society should recognise police officers do an extremely dangerous job.
‘As we have seen in other parts of the country, such as Greater Manchester, there are some wicked people who will target police officers because they’re police officers.’
Mr Apter said he would like the Home Secretary to go further and include all public sector workers – nurses, paramedics, firefighters and prison officers.
He added: ‘If somebody is murdered carrying out a role that benefits the public the courts should recognise that and the sentence should be more severe.
‘The would-be offender must understand completely that if they chose to go down that particular path there will be no sympathy for them in the court procedure.’
There have been 12 killings of police officers in the course of duty since 2000, including the murder of PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes by Dale Cregan in Manchester last year.
Another high-profile case where a police officer died was that of Ian Dibell, an off-duty officer who was shot as he tried to stop a gunman.
Receiving a round of applause from officers at the conference, Mrs May said: ‘The murder of a police officer is an appalling crime. To attack and kill a police officer is to attack the fundamental basis of our society.’