A bill which makes offending against Police and Corrections officers an aggravating factor at sentencing passed its second reading in Parliament today.
Justice Minister Judith Collins says the Sentencing (Aggravating Factors) Amendment Bill shows the Government is taking assaults against Police and Corrections officers seriously, by requiring the courts to specifically consider this as an aggravating factor in sentencing offenders.
"Under the current law, it is not mandatory for an offence committed against a law enforcement officer to be an aggravating factor that must be taken into account at sentencing. The Government intends to change that," Ms Collins said.
"We want to ensure this abhorrent behaviour is taken into account by judges when sentencing offenders. This bill sends a strong signal that assaults against Police and Corrections officers will not be tolerated.
"Though the new aggravating factor does not automatically require an increase in an offender's sentence, explicit legislation denouncing this type of offending will help ensure the courts impose appropriate penalties.
"Our Police and Corrections staff are responsible for keeping our communities safe from the most dangerous people in society. The increasing number of assaults on officers in recent years is unacceptable.
"This bill ensures that our officers are given the level of protection they deserve," Ms Collins said.