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Criminals who kill emergency service workers will face mandatory life sentences under ‘Harper’s Law’

The law change comes after tireless campaigning following the death of PC Andrew Harper

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@lissie_harper / Instagram

Those who kill emergency service workers will face mandatory life sentences thanks to a law change prompted by the death of PC Andrew Harper. 

On August 15th 2019, just one month on from his wedding day, PC Harper was killed while responding to a report of a burglary in Sulhamstead, Berkshire. The twenty-eight-year-old suffered catastrophic injuries when his ankles were caught in a strap attached to the getaway car as he attempted to apprehend one of the burglars.

In July, the driver of the car, nineteen-year-old Henry Long, was charged with manslaughter and jailed for just sixteen years while his his eighteen-year-old passengers were each jailed for thirteen years.

Following the controversial sentencing, his widow Lissie Harper spoke of her outrage and began to campaign for a law change that would bring mandatory life sentences for those who kill an emergency worker in the line of duty.

And this week, Lissie has won her fight for change; the government has confirmed it will be introducing new legislation titled ‘Harper’s Law’ that will make life sentences mandatory for anyone who kills an emergency worker.

Lissie said on the historic law change: “Emergency services workers require extra protection. I know all too well how they are put at risk and into the depths of danger on a regular basis on behalf of society.

“That protection is what Harper’s Law will provide and I am delighted that it will soon become a reality.

“It’s been a long journey and a lot of hard work. I know Andrew would be proud to see Harper’s Law reach this important milestone.”

Announcing the proposed law change, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab added: “We are going to pass into law mandatory life sentences for those who unlawfully kill an emergency worker in the course of their duty.

“I pay tribute to Lissie Harper’s remarkable campaign. This Government is on the side of victims and their families and we want our emergency services to know that we’ll always have their back.”

Harper’s Law is expected to make it onto the statute books via an amendment to the existing Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, meaning it is likely to get Royal Assent and become law early next year.

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Woman seriously injured after being attacked by four of her own dogs

Armed police officers, fire crews and an ambulance were called out to diffuse the situation

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On The Market & Postdlf / Wikimedia Commons

A woman in St Helens has been left seriously injured after being mauled by what is believed to be four of her own dogs.

Merseyside Police were called out to the Sutton area at around 10am yesterday, December 6th, following reports of a woman being attacked by her four dogs, each of which were initially described as bulldogs.

Armed response officers, Merseyside fire service crews and an ambulance were also sent to the scene. 

The four dogs have been seized and the woman remains in hospital with ‘serious’ injuries, Merseyside Police said.

The force added in a statement: “Emergency services are in attendance in Sutton today, Monday 6 December.

“At around 10.15am, police were called to the Reginald Road area to a report of a woman being attacked by her four dogs, initially described as bulldogs.

“The woman sustained serious injuries and was taken to hospital. The dogs have been seized by Merseyside Police.

Lancashire Police / Facebook

“Enquiries into the incident are ongoing. Anyone who has any information is asked to contact us via @MerPolCC or 101 with reference 21000844839.”

The woman’s neighbours have since been describing the scene, with one telling the Liverpool Echo: “You should have seen it before, the whole street was filled with police, ambulance and everything, it was mad.”

Another resident down the street noted: “It’s normally a nice estate so it’s obviously really surprising when something like this goes on.”

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Government to review Omicron Covid rules on December 21st

The rules are expected to stay in place until the new year

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Number 10 / Flickr & Gov.uk

The rules and regulations brought in to tackle the Omicron variant of Covid-19 will reportedly be reviewed on December 21st.

According to new reports today, while the rules will be reviewed four days before Christmas Day, they are unlikely to be lifted and will instead be kept in force until the new year.

It has also been suggested that the government’s Plan B – which will enforce mandatory masks in pubs and restaurants and advice to work from home – is not yet needed. 

Nickolay Romensky/Flickr

A Government source told the MailOnline: “In terms of Plan B, we are not there yet. The ambition is that people can have a much more normal Christmas than last year.

“That depends on what the data shows about the new variant. But certainly the hope is that things stay as they are in the next couple of weeks.”

The current rules mean face masks in shops, hairdressers, banks and post offices are now mandatory, as well as on public transport.

The rules also require anyone who comes into contact with someone who tests positive for Omicron to quarantine for ten days – even those who are fully vaccinated.

arturo-rey/Unsplash

However, a Sage scientist recently said the new variant is ‘not a disaster’, and that ‘some people may be ‘hugely overstating the situation’.

Microbiologist Prof Calum Semple says vaccines are ‘still likely to protect you from severe disease’, telling BBC Breakfast: “This is not a disaster, and the headlines from some of my colleagues saying ‘this is horrendous’ I think are hugely overstating the situation.

“Immunity from the vaccination is still likely to protect you from severe disease. You might get a snuffle or a headache or a filthy cold but your chance of coming into hospital or intensive care or sadly dying are greatly diminished by the vaccine and still will be going into the future.”

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Stevenson Square set to be fully pedestrianised and turned into a proper public square under new plans

Local residents have been encouraged to come forward and contribute towards the planning of the new space

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@williamkan__ & @barneyibbotson / Instagram

Plans to permanently pedestrianise the Northern Quarter’s Stevenson Square have been released to the public.

A large proportion of the popular square has been closed off from traffic since last summer, when the council closed several roads to encourage pedestrians back into the city centre. 

It was also hoped that the closure of roads would help bars, restaurants and cafes to expand out into the streets to enable social distancing throughout the pandemic

Yet while some city centre road closures were reversed in October when the emergency Covid legislation came to an end, many roads remained closed around the Northern Quarter after the council were put under pressure deliver improved walking and cycling routes.

@adventurepostcards / Instagram

And Stevenson Square was one of them, with new plans for the area released detailing proposals for at least twenty new trees, seating, bike racks, a ‘rain garden’ and sustainable draining systems.

Further trees could potentially be planted subject to future surveys to find optimum space, and make allowances for underground utilities.

Traffic will still be able to pass through Lever Street but, where it would usually meet the square, the road will instead become a raised carriageway with a controlled pedestrian crossing.

Jon-Connor Lyons, Labour councillor for the Piccadilly ward, said on the plans: “We really welcome this final consultation on the proposals to permanently pedestrianise Stevenson Square.

“The Northern Quarter is a tightly-packed neighbourhood with buildings of various heights, history and architectural merits, though it is lacking public space for people to relax.

“What I’d like to see is more non-commercial seating in the square that is also age-friendly, as well as a friendly environment for artists and creatives to help further the space. I encourage residents to come forward and contribute towards the planning of this space.”

Councillor Tracey Rawlins, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Environment, added: “I’m incredibly pleased that we’re able to take the next step towards creating a more accessible and thriving Northern Quarter.

“Making more space available for people to walk and cycle as well as introducing more green space were just two of the many priorities highlighted to us by residents and businesses throughout the consultations we’ve run.”

For more information and to have your say on the pedestrianisation, visit the Manchester City Council website here.

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