Last reviewed 9 March 2021

A new Bill will enshrine a Police Covenant in law, strengthening the support received by serving and retired officers, staff and their families.

In addition, maximum penalties will be doubled from 12 months to two years for those who assault police or other emergency workers, such as prison officers, fire personnel or frontline health workers — helping to protect those who put their lives on the line to keep communities safe.

According to Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, Robert Buckland, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill seeks to equip the police with the powers and tools they need to protect themselves and the public.

It will also overhaul sentencing laws to keep serious sexual and violent offenders behind bars for longer and place greater emphasis on rehabilitation to better help offenders to turn their lives around.

Measures include widening laws which prevent adults in “positions of trust” from engaging in sexual relationships with young people under the age of 18, bringing sports coaches and religious leaders in line with other occupations such as teachers and doctors.

Meanwhile, new court orders will boost efforts to crack down on knife crime, as well as make it easier to stop and search those suspected of carrying a blade.

Revised legislation will also enable police to better tackle unauthorised encampments and safely manage protests where they threaten public order or stop people from getting on with their daily lives

The Bill also introduces life sentences for “killer drivers”, ends the automatic halfway release for serious violent and sexual offenders and ensures community sentences are stricter and better target underlying causes of crime such as mental health issues, alcohol or drug addiction.

Further changes will see tougher penalties for those who vandalise memorials and a statutory duty placed on local authorities and criminal justice agencies to tackle serious violence through better sharing of data and intelligence.