Jail looms for emergency service crime

Rene Hidding

Rene Hidding

OFFENDERS who assault emergency services workers will face mandatory six-month prison terms, under legislation to be introduced to Parliament this week.

The legislation is designed to deter attacks on police, paramedics, firefighters and other frontline workers.

Police Minister Rene Hidding has argued that mandatory minimum sentences would bring down the number of threats or attacks on police.

The policy goes against a recommendation from the Sentencing Advisory Council last year.

The council described mandatory minimum sentences as "crude policy" and recommended instead increasing the maximum penalty for the summary office of assaulting a police officer to three years and setting a maximum penalty for two years for the assault of an emergency service worker.

The Police Association strongly backs the proposed new measures.

Debate on the issue flared last year after a series of attacks on police and sentences that were deemed too lenient by the policy union.In December a 21-year-old Hobart man, who threatened police with a knife, was given 77 hours' community service after pleading guilty to assaulting police, trespassing and breaching bail.

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