13 September, 2012
Greater protection for staff on the frontline
A bill that makes offending against a law enforcement officer, health or fire emergency services first responder an aggravating factor at sentencing has passed its third and final reading in Parliament.
Justice Minister Judith Collins says the new law sends a clear message that offending against our first responders will not be tolerated.
“Our police, prison officers, ambulance staff, paramedics, doctors, nurses and fire fighters put their own lives at risk every day to rescue, save and protect their fellow New Zealanders,” Ms Collins says.
“They are the community’s first line of defence against dangerous offenders and the first at the scene of serious accidents, fires and life-threatening situations.
“The new law sends a strong message that this Government backs our frontline services and will do what it can to protect them just as they continue to protect all New Zealanders.”
Previously, there was no requirement for a judge to consider whether the victim was a first responder when sentencing an offender.
The Sentencing (Aggravating Factors) Amendment Bill introduces two new aggravating factors to section 9(1) of the Sentencing Act 2002.