PC Harper's widow launches campaign for 'Andrew's Law'
The widow of Police Constable Andrew Harper is launching a campaign for ‘Andrew’s Law’ – which would see criminals convicted of killing emergency services workers spend the rest of their lives in jail.
Lissie Harper has vowed to fight for a change in the law in memory of her late husband, so that anyone killing a police officer, firefighter, nurse, doctor or paramedic is jailed for life.
Ms Harper – who is working with the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) on the campaign – intends to call for the law change in high-profile meetings with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel in coming weeks.
She is calling on the British public and politicians of all parties to back her in her campaign.
She said: “I pledge to my late husband to never stop until I have made the difference that this country clearly needs. I vow to stand strong and firm with so many other honourable people in our country to make the changes that we clearly know to be justified.
“I hope that by creating a new ‘Andrew’s Law’ – that sees any person who commits a crime that results in the death of an emergency worker being jailed for life – that those that have to go through what I have been through in the future get the justice that they rightly deserve.”
Newly-married Thames Valley Police officer PC Harper was killed on August 15 last year by Henry Long, Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole. The trio were convicted of manslaughter last month 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.
Ms Harper said: “As a widow of a police officer – a title in which I would give everything to not have – I have witnessed first-hand the lenient and insufficient way in which the justice system deals with criminals who take the lives of our emergency workers.
“I have grown close to our under-appreciated protectors ever more since the death of Andrew, I have been enveloped in love and support from not only the police and other emergency workers but so many of the general public too who I know fully support my feelings over the verdict and sentences in which Andrew’s killers have received.
“The people responsible for wreaking utter despair and grief in all of our lives will spend an inadequate amount of time behind bars. These men who showed no remorse, no guilt or sorrow for taking such an innocent and heroic life away will find themselves able to live out the rest of their lives free and able to commit more crimes and continue to put people in danger when they are released in a very small number of years.”
The PFEW is working with Ms Harper on the timescales and legal drafting of her demands, and high-profile politicians, including former Police Minister and Conservative MP Sir Mike Penning are backing the campaign.
PFEW national chair John Apter said: “We fully support Lissie and her campaign to seek a change in the law. Andrew was brutally killed, leaving his wife, loved ones, colleagues and the nation devastated.
“The killing of a police officer should see those responsible face the rest of their lives in prison. This campaign would be Andrew’s legacy and we will continue to support Lissie in her efforts to seek justice and change the law for the greater good.”
PC Harper’s Thames Valley Police Federation colleague Sergeant Andy Fiddler, who has been supporting his widow since his death in August last year, said: “We want a new Andrew’s Law that protects all our emergency services workers that are killed on duty as a result of someone committing a crime.
“Those in society who hurt those there to protect us should be dealt with the full force of the law and judicial system.”
Ms Harper added: “Andrew will never be forgotten – emergency workers and fellow police officers will never don their uniforms and begin their shifts in the way that they did before he was taken. The details of his death clearly etched in their minds.
“I urge you all to see the dangers that our protectors face on every shift that they begin, the risks that they are forced to take in order to keep our people safe. Far too often one of our own is taken from us, far to common is it that one of our care givers is injured. No one should have to give their life for their job.
“I wish to ensure that anyone who finds themselves in my position, any widows of the future will not have to experience the same miscarriages of justice.
“Let us finally put in place laws in which we can actually be proud of, let us do something about the injustices of our systems that cause so much heartache and utter outrage from us all.”