PC Harper’s widow says she’s overwhelmed by support for her campaign to toughen penalties in the UK for killing emergency service workers.
The 28-year-old officer was dragged to his death as he tried to stop three thieves fleeing after they stole a quad bike in Stanford Dingley, Berkshire, on 15 August last year.
Lissie Harper, who married her late husband one month before his death, is calling for a minimum sentence of life in prison for anyone convicted of killing “a police officer, firefighter, doctor, prison officer or paramedic”.
“Our justice system is broken,” the 29-year-old said.
“I have witnessed first-hand the lenient and insufficient way in which the justice system deals with criminals who take the lives of our emergency workers.”
“Harper’s Law will ensure those that commit these offences aren’t out again on the streets in a matter of weeks while the families of the victims suffer their own life sentences. That would be far more just.”
The family first announced this campaign on 4 August, when PC Harper’s mother, Debbie Adlam, told Sky News she wanted anyone who injures or kills a police officer to serve a minimum 20 year term, under “Andrew’s Law”.
Today, Ms Harper released a statement saying she is “overwhelmed by the thousands of people from across the country who have publicly backed our campaign since we announced its launch”.
But she said the original name of the campaign law had “been causing potential confusion to the public – with it already being used in America and being used for a different goal by Andrew’s mother”.
“So (we) felt it important to change the name to Harper’s Law at this early juncture,” she added.
“What hasn’t changed is the aim of the campaign and what we are fighting for: Anyone killing a police officer, firefighter, nurse, doctor, prison officers or paramedic should spend the rest of their lives behind bars. No ifs. No buts.”
Ringleader of PC Harper’s killing, 19-year-old Henry Long, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for manslaughter, but could be released in less than 11 years.
Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, were sentenced to 13 years.
But they could be out on licence after serving less than nine years, under legislation that says a prisoner is eligible for release after serving two-thirds of their sentence.
The campaign has been backed by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), which represents thousands of officers up to the rank of chief inspector, as well as PC Harper’s father, step mother, brother and sister.
PFEW’s National Chair, John Apter, said the new law would be Andrew’s legacy.
“We will continue to support Lissie in her efforts to seek justice and change the law for the greater good.”
:: Listen to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker
Ms Harper wrote a heartfelt poem paying tribute to her late husband at a memorial ahead of the first anniversary of his killing on Friday.
In the poem, Mrs Harper described her husband as “kind and strong without venom or greed,” adding that she was lucky to be his wife.