The mother of PC Andrew Harper launches campaign for Andrew's Law
It's almost a year since PC Andrew Harper was killed when he investigated a burglary. His family are now calling for the introduction of Andrew’s Law to ensure that sentences of at least 20 years are given for those who kill a first responder.
PC Harper's mother Debbie Adlam is calling for a change in the law after her son’s killers were given prison terms she described as "unduly lenient".
Speaking to Adil Ray and Ranvir Singh on Good Morning Britain, Debbie explained how she was compelled to take action when the men who were convicted of killing PC Harper were handed their sentences.
While one of the men received a 16-year sentence, the remaining two men received a 13-year sentence.
"The initial sentence was not so much of my issue. When I saw the reduction coming off of these sentences, it was becoming unbelievable how much was taken off. It didn’t make any sense to me. An early plea for something when you’re in a position where you’ve got no choice but to admit that you’ve done it because it’s been proven to you. That’s one thing and the age issue is a big problem for me and this is part of the reason why we’re launching Andrew’s Law. We’re just blown away with the response so far," she shared.
She added: "To me, that’s not a punishment fitting the crime. My son isn’t coming back because of their criminality."
Asked if she would have felt differently if the defendants had shown remorse for their actions, Debbie told Ranvir that she may have done but instead, they were "laughing and joking" during the trial.
Speaking about how she is dealing with the loss of her son on a day to to day basis, Debbie said that Andrew's Law is giving her and her family some focus.
She said: "We can go through all the emotions within a day or two. You can be at the pits of desperation and out of the blue we get these waves of grief which come along. It’s hard to focus on getting anything done and feel positive about going forward, so this is hopefully an added benefit to put in some focus on what we’re doing now because this is all to be done in Andrew’s name but for the benefit of others."
"Andrew is not lucky enough to benefit from it but I know for a fact, the type of person he is, that this is something he would fully support. Going forward we don’t want to have these long drawn out trials where you’re having manslaughter or murder debates. He put himself in harm's way for our benefit, for the general public and that’s what the blue light services do. They’re out there putting themselves in harm’s way and that’s why I think the blue light services and the police deserve a bit of extra protection.
"My issue at the moment is that if you are 19 as one of the defendants were 18 at the time, you can do so many things. You can sit on a jury at 18. To me, there’s no need for the reduction because he’s not 21. You can do everything else. Why make that distinction because you’re not 21? You can change your gender, you can get a mortgage. It just doesn’t make sense," she added.
Former Met Chief Superintendent Dal Babu backed Debbie's campaign when he told Adil and Ranvir: "We talked about some of these suspects serving eight to ten years. That is not a fair situation when they’ve taken the life of quite an extraordinary individual like PC Harper. I’m supporting Debbie’s view which is around a minimum sentence for first responders. We’re asking our first responders to turn up and put their lives in danger as PC Andrew Harper had done in this case."