MP calls to reflect on sentencing guidelines

Judges need new guidelines on how tough they can be on criminals who assault Police Officers, an MP has warned. Shipley MP Philip Davies said the 20 month sentence for Joseph McAllister who threw acid in the eye of Bradford officer Sergeant Andrew Heald was too lenient. Speaking in Parliament he said new tougher sentencing powers were needed to protect public servants. Mr Davies said: “The man was on licence from a four and a half year prison sentence, he evaded arrest by throwing acid in the face of a police officer was given just 20 month sentence for that assault, understandably to the disgust of the police federation. I should say this was not in my opinion the fault of the judge who was doing his best in the sentencing guidelines. “Assaults on police officers and other public servants are an aggravating factor when sentencing but there is no guidance given as to how much longer a sentence should be given for such an assault.” Last month McAllister was jailed for 20 months for the assault on Sgt Heald and a further eight months for handling a stolen van. Mr Davies said Parliament needed to debate additional sentencing so “public servants are given the protection they deserve.” Commons Leader Chris Grayling said government had introduced mandatory whole life tariffs for those who kill police or prison officers in the line of duty. He added: “There are other issues related to attacks on police officers. We should always work to provide the maximum possible support for public servants and give judge the power that they need to deal with appalling situations like the one Mr Davies describes.” McAllister had nine previous convictions for 19 offences. He was on licence from a four and a half year jail sentence for ramming a lorry into a building. Mr Davies added: “This horrific case is one of the many examples of why we need to get tougher on crime. This man should never have been allowed out of prison early and by doing so he went on to commit further crimes and seriously injure a Police officer.”