LNP hit back on attacks on police

THE Queensland Police Union has welcomed a State Government move to increase the maximum sentence for people convicted of assaulting officers.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie announced a series of proposed law reforms yesterday, with the LNP hopeful of having the changes ticked off in State Cabinet next Monday.

In addition to increasing the maximum sentence for assaults on police from seven to 14 years, the government also wants to increase the non-parole period for repeat sex offenders and murderers.

The move to get tougher on those who commit serious assaults on police seems to have support from both sides of the bar table, with the police union and local lawyers voicing their approval.

In the Ipswich police district alone, there have been 18 cases of serious assault against police officers in the line of duty since July 1, 2011.

Police Union president Ian Leavers said the proposed changes represented a positive sign from the new government.

"This is a great start by Campbell Newman, Jarrod Bleijie and the LNP for protecting all police in Queensland," Mr Leavers said. "While police would have liked a minimum custodial sentencing aspect, I applaud Campbell Newman for taking this tough stance.

"It's a great start by the LNP after a decade of Labor neglect of police, and we'll keep watch to make sure it's a success that we all want it to be."

Ipswich criminal defence lawyer Yassar Khan said he would have no problems if the proposed changes were to take effect, but vehemently opposed any move

to introduce mandatory sentencing.

"I think the police have a very difficult job and that if they are assaulted - particularly if it is a serious assault - that the penalty should reflect the crime," Mr Khan said.

"But at the same time, it is vital that the sentencing magistrate or judge has discretion to make their decision based on the particular circumstances of the case."

The most recent case of serious assault on a police officer occurred on May 30, when a man allegedly bit and struck out at two officers who responded to a disturbance at the Ipswich Hospital.

The Police Union said it also backed LNP moves to impose a minimum $5000 fine and an automatic two-year suspension of a driver's licence for those who evade police.

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