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Our specialist team of assault PC solicitors are experts in this area of law.  This page gives general information on assault PC and related offences.  If you are charged with this offence, it is vital that you contact our assault PC solicitors without delay.

 

ASSAULT ON A CONSTABLE IN THE EXECUTION OF HIS/HER DUTY

 

Which legislation covers this offence?

Assault on a Constable in the execution of his/her duty is covered by Section 89(1) of the Police Act 1996.

 

What conduct would result in this charge being laid?

The offence is committed when a person assaults either:-

  • a constable acting in the execution of his or her duty; or
  • a person assisting a constable in the execution of his or her duty.

A person should be prosecuted under Section 89(1) of the Act if the assault on a constable resulted in an injury as outlined in the legislation for Common Assault, providing the officer was acting in the execution of his/her duty.

 

What if there is insufficient evidence that the officer was acting in the execution of his/her duty?

If the proceedings for assault are grounded, but there is not sufficient evidence that the officer was acting in the execution of his/her duty, then the most appropriate charge would be under Section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (Common Assault).

Note: If this is the case, then your assault PC solicitors should carry out a careful check should take place to ensure the defendant was not acting in self-defence.

 

Could a person be charged with a Section 47 offence?

If the injuries are not serious, then the fact that the victim is a police officer is not a sound reason for charging the offence contrary to Section 47 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 (Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm – ABH).

 

What sentencing powers do the courts have for this offence?

This offence is summary only, which means that it can be heard in the magistrates’ court.

The sentencing powers of the magistrates’ court are limited, so the maximum penalty is six months’ imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum.

 

ASSAULT ON A PRISON OFFICER

 

Which legislation covers this offence?

Assault on a Prison Officer is covered by Section 8 of the Prison Act 1952.

This Act bestows on Prison Officers – while acting in this role – all the powers, authority, protection and privileges of a police officer.

The Code for Crown Prosecutors is clear regarding how charging decisions should be made:-

“…police officers and prosecutors must select charges which reflect the seriousness and extent of the offending. Where the available evidence affords the police officer or prosecutor a choice between Common Assault and a charge under section 89 of the Police Act 1996, the latter will normally be the more appropriate charge. As well as being the charge that Parliament intended should be brought, the bringing of such a charge will ensure that, if convicted, the offender’s record of antecedents properly reflects the nature of their conduct.”

What legal options are there if the assault is racially or religiously aggravated?

Other offences, under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 may be more appropriate where there is evidence of racist or religious aggravation.

In these cases, police officers and prosecutors should refer to the ‘Guidance on Prosecuting Cases of Racist and Religious Crime’.

 

What sentencing powers do the courts have for this offence?

This offence is summary only, which means that it can be heard in the magistrates’ court.

The sentencing powers of the magistrates’ court are limited, so the maximum penalty is six months’ imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum.

 

ASSAULT ON AN IMMIGRATION OFFICER

 

Which legislation covers this offence?

Assault on an Immigration Officer is covered by Section 22 of the UK Borders Act 2007.

An Immigration Officer is defined within section 1 of the Act as someone “designated” by the Secretary of State.

Is this offence treated in a similar way to assaults on people working in other sectors?

Yes. Police officers and prosecutors are advised to make decisions for Section 22 offences in the same way as they would for offences of assaulting a police officer – see also Common Assault and Assault on a Constable in the execution of his/her duty.

Note: The exception to the above is that Section 22 does not require the immigration officer to be assaulted “in the execution of his duty” as with the corresponding police officer offence.

 

What sentencing powers do the courts have for this offence?

This offence is summary only, which means that it can be heard in the magistrates’ court.

It carries a maximum sentence of six months’ imprisonment.

 

ASSAULT ON AN A PUBLIC SERVANT OR EMERGENCY WORKER

Which legislation covers this offence?

There is no separate offence for assault on a public servant or emergency worker.

Note: There are, however, offences of obstructing (or hindering) emergency workers under the Emergency Workers (Obstruction) Act 2006.

It should be noted that, although separate legislation is not in place, assaults on public servants and emergency workers are taken very seriously by the judicial system.

Paragraph 4.12c of the Code for Crown Prosecutors states:-

“… A prosecution is also more likely if the offence has been committed against a victim who was at the time a person serving the public”.

Similarly, the Sentencing Council’s guidelines on Assault state that where an assault is committed against a person working in the public sector, or providing a service to the public, this is deemed an aggravating factor.

 

What sentencing powers do the courts have for this offence?

As there is no separate offence, sentencing would depend on which offence a person was charged with – for example, Common Assault or GBH.

 

If you are being charged with one of these offences, our assault PC solicitors are the experts you need in your corner.  Call us now on 01623 600645.

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