Vice-chair calls on MPs to make Elizabeth Medal a reality
The vice-chair of South Wales Police Federation has urged the government to approve proposals for a medal to honour officers killed on duty after the campaign received support from Wales’ First Minister.
Phil Walker described the backing of Mark Drakeford as 'a significant step' for the ‘Medals for Heroes’ campaign.
It calls for an Elizabeth Medal to be given posthumously in recognition of emergency services workers who are killed in the line of duty, including police officers.
Medals for Heroes
Phil said: “It’s only right and proper that we should have a nationally recognised honour for those emergency workers who make the ultimate sacrifice in their work.
“An Elizabeth Medal would not only recognise their bravery and dedication but would also mean a lot to their family, friends and colleagues. It’s shameful that one doesn’t already exist.
“The support of Mr Drakeford for our campaign is most welcome and is a significant step towards reaching our goal.
“The ball is now in the government’s court. Surely it can see the support our campaign is generating and will take the appropriate steps to make it happen - and soon.”
The ‘Medals for Heroes’ campaign was launched by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), the Police Superintendents’ Association and the Prison Officers Association.
Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford (left) and Elizabeth Medal
campaigner, Bryn Hughes MBE.
It’s being driven by Bryn Hughes MBE, the father of PC Nicola Hughes, who was murdered along with colleague PC Fiona Bone in Manchester in 2012.
Mr Drakeford met Bryn, at Ty Hywel, in Cardiff, on Wednesday to discuss the campaign and afterwards gave it his formal backing.
He said: “It has been a privilege to meet Bryn Hughes MBE and hear about his tireless work as part of the ‘Medals for Heroes’ campaign.
“Emergency workers who have been killed in the line of duty should be recognised for their efforts keeping their local communities safe.
“I give my full backing to this campaign calling for recognition for those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Nicky Ryan, PFEW’s Welsh lead, echoed the calls for politicians to ensure the medal became a reality.
“I am thrilled to hear that the First Minister has pledged his support for such an important campaign,” said Nicky.
“When Mr Drakeford and Bryn met at the Bravery Awards earlier this year, we initiated yesterday’s meeting but didn’t expect it to happen within a matter of months.
“I’d like to thank Mr Drakeford and his team for their speedy response in ensuring the meeting took place so quickly. It is so much appreciated.
“I hope that Mr Drakeford’s peers will follow in his footsteps and voice their support for the campaign, so we can work towards taking it over the finish line and finally have a medal in place for our fallen colleagues.”
Elizabeth Medal becoming a reality
Bryn said he was “extremely encouraged” by the meeting.
“I feel like we’re no longer taking baby steps towards an Elizabeth Medal becoming reality, but giant leaps. It’s all very positive at the moment,” he said.
On Monday (18 September), the day that marked 11 years since Nicola and Fiona died, Ruth Jones, the MP for Newport West voiced her support for the campaign in Parliament when she asked Chris Philp, Minister of Policing to ‘do the right thing and acknowledge those who gave their lives to keep us safe?’
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper last week said that Labour would honour emergency services workers killed on duty.
Ms Cooper, speaking at the Police Superintendents' Association conference, said: “We believe that those who give their lives to keep British people safe on our streets at home should be recognised and honoured for the work that they have done.”
News surrounding the campaign comes days before this year's National Police Memorial Day, which will be taking place on Sunday (24 September) to honour officers killed on duty.