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‘We need to give something back’: Harper’s Law campaign marks year since start

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A policeman’s widow is increasing her pressure on politicians to make killing an emergency worker punishable with a mandatory life sentence, a  year after launching her campaign.

Lissie Harper was left bereaved when her husband, PC Andrew Harper, was caught in strapping attached to a car in August 2019 and dragged behind the vehicle.

It was PC Harper’s last shift with Thames Valley Police before the newlyweds were due to go on their honeymoon.

Lissie Harper is redoubling her campaigning
Image: Lissie Harper is redoubling her campaigning

Since August last year, Mrs Harper has been working for the introduction of “Harper’s Law”, as she says emergency service workers need more protection.

The teenagers who killed her husband received jail terms ranging from 16 years to 13 years for their roles in his manslaughter in Berkshire – which left Mrs Harper “immensely disappointed”.

An appeal by the Attorney General to increase their time behind bars was rejected.

Mrs Harper said: “Day after day, police officers, and sadly many of our emergency services heroes, look danger in the eyes and carry on regardless.

More on Pc Andrew Harper

“They put themselves in harm’s way to protect the public, so we need to give something back to show we support them.”

Mrs Harper has gained the support of both the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, and the Justice Secretary, Robert Buckland QC.

She has also been backed by a petition with more than 750,000 signatures.

Undated handout file photos issued by Thames Valley Police of (left to right), Henry Long, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers. The Court of Appeal will rule on whether Pc Andrew Harper's killers' sentences for manslaughter are "unduly lenient" following a bid by the Attorney General to have them increased.
Image: From left to right, Henry Long, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers. The trio were given sentences ranging from 13 years to 16 years

However, a proposal has yet to be brought before parliament.

The widow is hoping that the return of the House of Commons from recess, and the commencement of the party conferences, will buoy her efforts – as well as expected meetings with Ms Patel and Mr Buckland.

She said: “We have gained lots of momentum over the past year in discussions with the Ministry of Justice and The Home Office about making this much needed law a reality.

“With a year behind us since the commencement of such an emotional but all be it vital undertaking, I am reassured by the continued progress we make.

“I hope that with the government returning from recess, and as party conference season takes place, we will be in a good position to make Harper’s Law a reality as soon as possible.

“We will continue to keep putting the pressure on politicians and continue to implore the Home Office to get this done now!”

She added: “Our protectors need our protection, to know that we appreciate everything they do for us, that running towards danger when everyone else runs away from it will not be met with injustice like it did for my husband.

PC Harper died after being dragged behind a car
Image: PC Harper died after being dragged behind a car

“We know this won’t happen overnight, but make no mistake, I will not allow this to be kicked into the long grass.

“There will be no reprieve until Harper’s Law is written in the history books.”