13 Apr 2011

Bill on assaults against police passes first vote

4:55 pm on 13 April 2011

Parliament has taken the first step towards making the Courts consider attacks on police and Corrections officers as an aggravating factor at sentencing.

The Sentencing (Aggravating Factors) Amendment Bill has passed its first vote in Parliament by 113 to four.

Figures show assaults against police officers increased by nearly a third between 2005 and 2009, while assaults on Corrections officers have more than doubled, although serious attacks have dropped.

Justice Minister Simon Power says the Government wants to explicitly denounce attacks on police and Corrections officers in legislation.

Mr Power says the change will not automatically require an increase in an offender's sentence but will help the Courts impose appropriate penalties.

The Bill will be sent to the Law and Order Select Committee for public submissions.