‘Police killers should spend the rest of their days in jail’ says federation
POLICE have called for people who murder officers on duty to be jailed for life, with no chance of ever being released.
They want to send a strong message out to criminals that if you attack “the fabric of society” you will find yourself forever excluded from it.
But the Scottish Police Federation, which represents the majority of officers in Scotland, has rejected calls for police to be routinely armed.
The comments follow the murder of PCs Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, in Manchester, last month.
Dale Cregan, 29, is accused of murdering the two women, as well as a father and son. He has appeared in court and was remanded in custody.
Murder carries a life sentence, with the punishment part being decided by a judge.
Brian Docherty, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, said: “What happened in Manchester was not just an attack on police officers and the police service, but on the fabric of society.
“People who protect the public and make sure society is safe – if you attack them, you should lose the right to be a member of that society.
“Individuals should know that if they kill a police officer they are going to spend the rest of their natural days in prison. That, to us, is a far better message to put out there.”
The deaths of the two officers in Manchester shocked the public as well as police forces.
“It always has an initial impact,” Mr Docherty said. “Everyone takes a sharp intake of breath, to think you could go to your work one day and before you know it something like this happens.”
But he said he is unaware of any officers who questioned whether they wanted to continue in the police, though many were left shaken by the incident.
The federation, which represents more than 16,500 officers of various ranks, rejected calls to routinely arm police.
Thirty-nine officers have died in acts of violence in Scotland since 1900, but none since 1994.
Calum Steele, general secretary of the federation, said: “Policing in the UK is unique and envied across the world.
“It is a cliché but one worth repeating nonetheless: we police with the consent of the people.
“Arming the police would fundamentally change that to policing by force. Nobody really wants that – do they?”
Calls to arm police were also rejected by senior officers and politicians in the days following the deaths of PCs Bone and Hughes.
The Scottish Government said it was up to courts to decide how long someone who is sentenced to life should spend behind bars.
A spokesman said: “Courts in Scotland already have sufficient powers if they want to impose a sentence that would lead to an offender spending the rest of their life in prison.
“Where a court considers the specific circumstances of a murder merits a very lengthy punishment part that may extend beyond the end of an offender’s life, we fully support courts in using the extent of their legal powers when sentencing.”
A spokeswoman for the judiciary said she could not comment on sentencing specifics, but said all aspects would be taken into account, including if the victim was a police officer.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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