New law increases punishments for attacks on police, ambulance and 999 staff: Every new offence listed

New laws will make punishments tougher for assaulting 999 staff.
New laws will make punishments tougher for assaulting 999 staff.

A new law has been introduced which increases the maximum sentences for assaulting emergency worker.

The Assaults on Emergency Workers Act 2018, in force as of 13th November 2018, states that if the offences of common assault or battery are committed against an emergency worker, the offence will be triable either way (as opposed to staying at Magistrates Court) and as such, have a higher maximum penalty.


The new offences are now as follows:


1. Common assault, triable summarily, under section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

2. Assault by beating, triable summarily, under section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

3. Common assault of an emergency worker, triable either way, under section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and section 1 of the Assaults on Emergency Workers Act 2018.

4. Assault by beating of an emergency worker, triable either way, under section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and section 1 of the Assaults on Emergency Workers Act 2018.
The offences which will now be treated as 'aggravated' when committed against an emergency worker:
Section 2 of the new Act also states that where the following offences are committed against an emergency worker, the court must treat the offence as aggravated:
an offence under any of the following provisions of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 - section 16 (threats to kill); section 18 (wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm); section 20 (malicious wounding); section 23 (administering poison etc.); section 28 (causing bodily injury by gunpowder etc.); section 29 (using explosive substances etc. with intent to cause grievous bodily harm); section 47 (assault occasioning actual bodily harm); an offence under section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (sexual assault); manslaughter; kidnapping; an ancillary offence in relation to any of the preceding offences.


Who counts as an emergency worker?


An 'emergency worker' is defined by section 3 as:
A constable (i.e. police)
A person (other than a constable) who has the powers of a constable or is otherwise employed for police purposes or is engaged to provide services for police purposes;
A National Crime Agency officer;
A prison officer;
A person (other than a prison officer) employed or engaged to carry out functions in a custodial institution of a corresponding kind to those carried out by a prison officer;
A prisoner custody officer, so far as relating to the exercise of escort functions;
A custody officer, so far as relating to the exercise of escort functions;
A person employed for the purposes of providing, or engaged to provide, fire services or fire and rescue services;
a person employed for the purposes of providing, or engaged to provide, search services or rescue services (or both);
A person employed for the purposes of providing, or engaged to provide -
NHS health services, or services in the support of the provision of NHS health services, and whose general activities in doing so involve face to face interaction with individuals receiving the services or with other members of the public.


The new provisions apply to an emergency worker acting in the exercise of his/her functions as such a worker.


This includes circumstances where the offence takes place at a time when the person is not at work, but is carrying out functions which, if done in work time, would have been in the exercise of his/her functions as an emergency worker.