Cleveland Police officer who was stabbed last year welcomes tougher sentences for emergency staff attacks

PC Mick Johnson Credit: Police Federation

By Kris Jepson

A Cleveland Police officer who was stabbed last year has told ITV News Tyne Tees he hopes a new law will deter people from attacking emergency workers.

The new law, which comes into force in November, means that anybody found guilty of common assault against police, NHS, Fire or prison workers will now face 12 month sentences, rather than six months.

Watch @krisjepson's report here:

PC Mick Johnson was presented a bravery award after tackling a man with a knife in a shop in Hartlepool last May. He survived being stabbed in the arm by the man.

I thought is this it? Is this me finished? But luckily it wasn't. I was scared. There's no doubt about it, I'm not ashamed to say that. They say your life flashes before you, well, mine did. It was a terrifying incident...Twelve months is better than six. It's got to be a step in the right direction and if it acts as a deterrent to stop this sort of thing happening and nobody else gets hurt like I was, then I'm all for it.

PC Mick Johnson
PC Mick Johnson Credit: ITV News

According to the Ministry of Justice, there have been 26,000 assaults on police officers in the past year and 17,000 assaults on NHS staff nationally.

In the North East there have been 67 attacks on North East firefighters between September 2017 to September 2018 and 961 NHS staff were attacked in 2016/17.

The Ministry of Justice released figures of North East attacks on police officers in the last year.

  • Cleveland Police - 244 assaults

  • Durham Police - 370 assaults

  • North Yorkshire Police - 324 assaults

  • Northumbria Police - 623 assaults

Labour politician, Chris Bryant MP, presented the private members bill to the Commons and it was given Royal Assent today, meaning the law will come into place later this year.

I don't think my bill on its own will transform everything, but I do believe we have to send a very strong message, that if you attack an emergency worker, you are attacking all of us and we, as the country will take action.

Chris Bryant MP
Emergency Services Credit: ITV News

The Justice Minister, Rory Stewart MP, said it is important this law acts as a deterrent to anybody who contemplates attacking our emergency services.

There's been an increasing amount of spitting at prison officers, ambulance workers and this has not really been punished and this is one of the things we think we need to have a clear punishment on because if we don't, we're not going to deter people from acting in and extremely disrespectful violent way towards public servants.

Rory Stewart MP, Justice Minister