Fallen officers could soon be honoured with a new medal to recognise outstanding individual acts of dedication to duty.
The Police Federation has joined forces with the Police Superintendents’ Association and the Prison Officers’ Association to call for unique recognition for emergency service workers who make the ultimate sacrifice whilst in the execution of their duty.
John Partington, deputy national secretary of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “It is only right we should honour fallen colleagues and support bereaved families. Police officers and other emergency service workers willingly run towards danger while others run away.
“The current awards system does not formally recognise emergency service workers who lose their lives while performing their duties, and all too often formal State recognition is not forthcoming. The proposed new medal would not just recognise outstanding individual acts of dedication to duty, it would also mean so much to family, friends and colleagues.”
The three staff associations want Home Office approval and cross-party support to enhance the current honours and awards system, which they believe fails to adequately reflect the dedication, commitment and sacrifice of those individuals who lost their lives in keeping their local communities safe.
It would be similar in status to the Elizabeth Cross which is awarded to the bereaved relatives of members of the British Armed Forces killed in military action.
The campaign is supported by Bryn Hughes, whose daughter PC Nicola Hughes and her colleague PC Fiona Bone were murdered in September 2021 during a gun and grenade attack in Greater Manchester.
“Police officers and emergency service workers like Nicola are human beings who go to work expecting to finish their shift then head home to see family. They willingly sign up to serve the public, knowing the dangers they might face. In my daughter Nicola’s case she was the tiniest thing, just 5ft tall. When she died, a colleague told me: ‘She had the body of a lion cub, and the heart of a lion’,” said Bryn.
“As a society, it is only fitting and right we recognise her service and courage. I am backing this campaign as the creation of a new medal would fittingly honour fallen colleagues, and the families of emergency workers who have suffered a devastating loss.
“It would mean so much to so many for the Government to officially show formal gratitude to Nicola and others and say ‘thank you’ to those who are killed because they have gone to work wearing a uniform.
“Although it is now a decade since we lost her, there is not a day that goes by where I don’t think of Nicola. Nothing will ever make up for her loss, but this award would bring a large degree of comfort to me and many others and is long overdue.”
Former prison officer Bryn played a leading part in the successful campaign to establish the UK Police Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, which commemorates the 5,000 police officers who have died in the line of duty over the years. He also runs the PC Nicola Hughes Memorial Fund to help children whose parents have been murdered.
Former police officer Joe Holness OBE QPM, who founded National Police Memorial Day after the killing of Kent colleague Jon Odell, is also backing the initiative.
He said: “For some time it has been my strong belief that emergency personnel who pay the ultimate sacrifice should be granted the fitting honour of a posthumous award. This is long overdue.
“The fallen have earned the right to be recognised in this way. They are an example to us all and must never be forgotten.”