Andrew’s Law: why the widow of PC Andrew Harper is campaigning for a law to give life sentences to those who kill emergency service workers

Lissie Harper is set to meet Home Secretary Priti Patel to discuss her campaign

The campaign has been launched by the widow of PC Andrew Harper (Photo: Family/Thames Valley Police)

A new campaign for ‘Andrew's Law’ is being launched by the widow of Andrew Harper, a police officer who was killed on duty last year.

Lissie Harper, who married Mr Harper just weeks before his death, wants to change the way criminals convicted of killing emergency services workers are sentenced.

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The new law would see lifetime jail sentences handed to those found guilty of killing an emergency services worker.

Who is Andrew Harper?

Andrew Harper was a Thames Valley police officer who was killed when he attempted to apprehend three teenagers who were trying to steal a quad bike.

As the teenagers attempted to flee the scene, the police officer got tangled up in a tow rope attached to the getaway car and was dragged at “breakneck” speed for more than a mile.

When PC Harper became dislodged, he had sustained terrible injuries, and died as a result of them.

19-year-old Henry Long, who drove the car, was sentenced to 16 years in prison and his accomplices Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, were each jailed for 13 years.

While the three were convicted of manslaughter, they were all cleared of murder.

The three men claimed that the incident was a “freak event” that none of them could have seen coming, however the prosecution said that the defendants must have been aware of Harper being dragged behind them as he was over 6ft tall and weighed 14 stone.

The jail terms handed to the three teenagers are being reviewed by the attorney general under a scheme which is designed to let members of the public ask for a serious crown court sentence from England or Wales to be reviewed over concerns it was too lenient.

PC Harper’s mother, Debbie Adlam, said that they should have been given at least 20 years each.

What is Andrew’s Law?

The campaign aims to change the law so that anyone who kills a police officer, firefighter, nurse, doctor or paramedic is jailed for life.

Mrs Harper 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 working 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.”

The campaign launched by Mrs Harper is backed by the Police Federation.

John Apter, National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “We fully support Lissie and her campaign to seek a chance 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.”

What has Priti Patel said about the campaign?

Mrs Harper is set to meet with the home secretary next month as she continues to campaign for Harper’s Law.

An online petition that is pushing for Harper’s Law is close to reaching half a million signatures.

Mrs Harper said in a statement: “What is more important than the safety and security of our emergency services workers?

"So we are delightful that the home office have been in touch to arrange the important meeting with Home Secretary Priti Patel. This is vital and urgent.

"Our justice system is broken. And we need Harper’s Law to help fix it. I have witnessed first hand the lenient and insufficient way in which the justice system deals with criminals who take the lives of emergency workers.

"We need Harper’s Law to give the ultimate protection to our emergency services workers. They run towards danger to protect the public from harm. They go out every day and risk their lives to protect us. They deserve the ultimate protection in return.”

Mrs Harper revealed that she had been contacted by the Home office to arrange a meeting with Priti Patel.

She added: “We don’t just need warm words, we need action.”