A NEW law which will see people who attack emergency service workers receive longer jail terms has been welcomed by Merseyside's deputy police commissioner.

The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill will double the maximum sentence from six to 12 months in prison for assaulting an emergency worker which covers police, prison officers, custody officers, fire service personnel, search and rescue and paramedics.

It also created a statutory aggravating factor which means that judges must consider tougher sentences for offences such as Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) and sexual assault.

The Bill will come into force in November and is also known as Protect the Protectors Bill.

Merseyside’s deputy police commissioner, Cllr Emily Spurrell said: “Emergency service workers risk their lives to protect people and to keep our communities safe from harm.

"It is abhorrent that they are subjected to threats, violence and attacks for doing this vital work.

“The announcement is a welcome step in the right direction in ensuring emergency service workers get the protection they deserve.

"Being attacked should never be part of working life for those who put on a uniform to serve the public. Criminals who target blue light workers need to know they will be punished and I hope we will now see more severe sentences for those who carry out attacks.”

In the past year there have been 26,000 assaults on police officers and more than 17,000 attacks on NHS staff.

Assaults on prison officers also rose by 70% from 2014 to 2017 and firefighters have seen an 18% increase experienced in the past two years.

Chris Bryant MP, who introduced the Bill, said: “The growing tide of attacks on emergency workers – including ambulance workers, NHS staff, fire officers, prison officers and police – is a national scandal.

"All too often attackers get away with little more than a slap on the wrist.

“I hope this new law will help put a stop to that attitude.

"An attack on an emergency worker is an attack on all of us and attackers should face the full force of the law.

"Now it is for the prosecuting authorities and the courts to play their part in putting a stop to the violence, so that emergency workers can get on doing their job in peace.”