Law shields frontline staff

NZ Herald 14 Sep 2012
People who lash out at emergency service staff will be treated more harshly by judges, after a law change being welcomed by police, firefighters and ambulance officers. An amendment to the Sentencing Act passed by Parliament this week means assaults on police and ambulance officers, firefighters, doctors, nurses and other emergency personnel will be counted as aggravating factors. Previously, there was no requirement for a judge to consider whether the victim was a first responder when sentencing. The change originally covered assaults on police and corrections officers, before Labour made another amendment to cover other roles such as firefighters and ambulance officers. It comes as figures released to the Herald under the Official Information Act show there are more than 2000 assaults on police officers a year.