It is no disrespect to police officers, and no underrating of the difficult and dangerous service they discharge, to look askance at the Home Secretary’s move to impose life-means-life prison sentences for police murders.
First, there is the principle to consider. Killing a police officer already carries a minimum 30-year jail term, as a signal that the state looks after its own. By going further still, Theresa May risks the suggestion that one life has a higher value than another. Really? Is a police officer worth more than, say, a teacher, or a parent?
Nor are Ms May’s motives sufficient justification. She is in the process of forcing through controversial reforms. Indeed, she was jeered at last year’s Police Federation conference (where yesterday’s pledge was delivered). Life with no parole for the murder of an officer is, then, a bid to curry favour. Understandable, maybe; but a cheap trick, nonetheless.