Commons praise for MEN campaign

The Manchester Evening News's "Protect Our Heroes" campaign to prevent violent attacks against emergency workers has won praise in the House of Commons.

MP for Worsley Barbara Keeley commended the MEN, in particular its reporter Neal Keeling, for highlighting the scale of the problem in Greater Manchester, which has one of the country's worst records for attacks and assaults on firefighters.

Protect Our Heroes was launched in November to back a Private Members'

Bill introduced by Labour MP for Swansea West Alan Williams with a view to getting a change in the law that would make it a specific offence to assault emergency workers. At present there is only a specific offence to attack a police officer.

Keeley said: "I want to praise the role played by the MEN and its reporter Neal Keeling in highlighting the scale of the problem faced by firefighters in Greater Manchester."

This month the Bill had a third reading in the House of Commons which was unopposed and it is now awaiting debate in the House of Lords. A new Emergency Services Protection Bill could come into effect by November.

MEN editor Paul Horrocks said: "With this campaign we knew the ground was strong because there was such a huge amount of public support and admiration for what emergency workers do. The fact that they were being attacked and assaulted horrified many people, and our postbag saw a huge reaction to it. We are delighted that the law is in the process of being altered."

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