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New law will give families of police officers like PC Andrew Harper legally guaranteed support - healthyfrog

New law will give families of police officers like PC Andrew Harper legally guaranteed support

A new law will give families of police officers who are killed in the line of duty like PC Andrew Harper legally guaranteed support.

Home Secretary Priti Patel spoke of her disdain for those who ‘laugh in the face of the law’ at a meeting with top officers today.

According to The Sun, Ms Patel will tell the Police Superintendents’ Association: ‘The police and the families that stand behind them deserve special recognition. 

‘I will put the Police Covenant in law to ensure they will always have the support of the nation.’

The Police Covenant will offer physical protection, help for health and well being and support for officers’ families.

A consultation that canvassed police groups as well as the public showed that 90 per cent of respondents supported the introduction of a covenant, the Home Office said.  

Home Secretary Priti Patel is expected to speak of her disdain for those who ‘laugh in the face of the law’ at a meeting with top officers today. Pictured, PC Andrew Harper

The idea for a covenant covering police staff and officers in England and Wales was first announced last year amid concerns over safety and welfare.

Ms Patel said: ‘The police and the families that stand behind them deserve special recognition.

‘Their bravery and sacrifices are what keep us and our loved ones safe.

‘I will put the Police Covenant in law to ensure they will always have the support of the nation.’

The agreement would create a statutory duty to support the police, and would require the Home Secretary to make an annual report to Parliament on its use.

It applies to current and retired police officers and staff, in both paid and voluntary jobs.

Leaders of police groups that have campaigned for a covenant welcomed the announcement.

Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales John Apter said: ‘This covenant will mean much more than words to serving or former police officers.

‘It recognises the unique position they hold in society and the fact they very often put their lives on the line.’ 

The Covenant says that it ‘acknowledges the sacrifices’ made by police staff and officers in paid or voluntary jobs.

Lissie, now 29, had been married to Andrew, 28, for just four weeks when he was killed by a gang of three teenage thieves in August last year. Pictured on their wedding day

Lissie, now 29, had been married to Andrew, 28, for just four weeks when he was killed by a gang of three teenage thieves in August last year. Pictured on their wedding day

It says: ‘It is intended to ensure that they and their families are not disadvantaged as a result of that commitment and seeks to mitigate the impact on their day-to-day life or in their access to justice.’

The agreement also acknowledges ‘a responsibility to provide protection and support to the police’.

It comes after PC Andrew Harper died horrifically on August 15 last year when he tried to stop three men from stealing a quad bike in Stanford Dingley, Berkshire.

His ankle got caught in a strap dangling from the back of a Seat Toledo and he was dragged to his death.

The Thames Valley police officer’s killers Henry Long, 19, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, were jailed after being convicted of manslaughter at the Old Bailey.

The new law will have protections already in place for military personnel.  

Paul Griffiths, president of the Police Superintendents’ Association, said: ‘The Police Covenant will provide formal recognition and a sign of clear value to the families of officers and staff who have made sacrifices in carrying out their duties.’

He added: ‘This important step forward will ensure that our duty to our people begins to mirror that of our duty to the public.’ 

PC Harper’s widow Lissie met with Secretary of State Priti Patel on September 2 after launching her Harper’s Law campaign.

PC Harper's widow Lissie met with Secretary of State Priti Patel on September 2 after launching her Harper's Law campaign. Pictured, with Justice Secretary Pobert Buckland (left) and Sgt Andy Fiddler (right)

PC Harper’s widow Lissie met with Secretary of State Priti Patel on September 2 after launching her Harper’s Law campaign. Pictured, with Justice Secretary Pobert Buckland (left) and Sgt Andy Fiddler (right)

The campaign would ensure a minimum life sentence for criminals convicted of killing an emergency services worker. 

Lissie, now 29, had been married to Andrew, 28, for just four weeks when he was killed by a gang of three teenage thieves in August last year.

One year on, she says that she has dreams where her husband is still alive and has written him ‘loads of letters’ which helps her deal with the grief.

Teenage sweethearts, the couple had been together for twelve years when they married in Oxfordshire in the summer of 2019.

Just four weeks later Lissie was woken up by a knock on her front door to the news that her husband was dead. 

Henry Long (left), 19, and 18-year-olds Jessie Cole (centre) and Albert Bowers (right) were sentenced at the Old Bailey for manslaughter

Henry Long (left), 19, and 18-year-olds Jessie Cole (centre) and Albert Bowers (right) were sentenced at the Old Bailey for manslaughter

In an emotional interview with the Sunday Mirror, Lissie said the hardest moment was collecting Andrew’s ashes, which made her realise that her sweetheart was really dead.

But even after a year she hasn’t yet been able to bring herself to scatter his ashes.

‘I’ve kept his ashes and they’re in a wooden box in my bedroom where I can see them,’ she said. 

Last month, PC Harper’s mother spoke of her pain at watching her son’s killers ‘laughing’ and joking’ in court.

Long was sentenced to 16 years, while Cole and Bowers were each handed 13-year terms. The family said they were let down by the ‘unduly lenient’ sentences’. 

PC Harper’s bereaved mother, Debbie Adlam, 53, has launched a new ‘Andrew’s Law’ campaign for a mandatory 20 year sentence for those convicted of killing police officers.

Appearing by video link from her home in Oxfordshire on Good Morning Britain she slammed the killers for 'laughing and joking' in court

Appearing by video link from her home in Oxfordshire on Good Morning Britain she slammed the killers for ‘laughing and joking’ in court

Andrew Harper and Lissie should have been spending the end of summer 2019 on honeymoon in the Maldives

Andrew Harper and Lissie should have been spending the end of summer 2019 on honeymoon in the Maldives

Appearing by video link from her home in Oxfordshire on Good Morning Britain she slammed the killers for ‘laughing and joking’ in court and said if her son was alive he would ‘fully support’ the campaign.  

Asked if she would have felt different if the accused showed some remorse during the trial, she told Good Morning Britain: ‘I think I would, we’ve watched them laughing, joking. 

‘Because of the situation with Covid things were laid out separately to the normal situation in a court room so we were sat for quite a long time sat with them on a video screen opposite where we were sat and they were joking and laughing and talking to each other and their microphones weren’t even switched on.

‘Which I don’t really understand how that’s appropriate. If you are in a murder trial how the suspects don’t have to sit there and listen to at least what there saying and doing while we are sat listening to their hideous crimes. I didn’t see any remorse. ‘

This week the Attorney General’s Office confirmed they have been asked to consider if the jail terms handed down are too lenient. 

Mrs Adlam welcomed the decision this week, and this morning said she couldn’t understand why reductions were taken off the sentences for her son’s killers.  

MailOnline has approached the Home Office for comment.