Dyfed Powys branch chair Gareth Jones says the Police Federation’s ‘Medals for Heroes’ campaign was gathering momentum after it received the support of Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford.
Now Gareth is urging the government in Westminster to make the campaign goal a reality by introducing an Elizabeth Medal to be given posthumously in recognition of emergency services workers who are killed in the line of duty, including police officers.
He said: “It’s fantastic news that the First Minister has given his support to the Federation’s campaign to formally recognise the sacrifices of brave service workers who are killed doing their job.
“In recent weeks, the Labour Party has also thrown its weight behind the campaign and it feels like it’s really gathering momentum.
“The establishment of an Elizabeth Medal to honour those who have died serving and protecting the public is long overdue and it’s now time for the government in Westminster to make it happen.”
Gareth’s comments follow an official meeting between Bryn Hughes MBE and Mr Drakeford at T? Hywel, in Cardiff, to discuss the campaign.
The campaign was launched by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), the Police Superintendents’ Association and the Prison Officers Association. It’s being driven by Bryn, the father of PC Nicola Hughes, who was murdered along with colleague PC Fiona Bone in Manchester in 2012.
Mr Drakeford 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.
Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford and Bryn Hughes MBE.
“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, the Federation’s Welsh lead, said: “I am thrilled to hear that the First Minister has pledged his support for such an important campaign.
“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.”
Bryn echoed Nicky’s comments.
He said: “I feel extremely encouraged by yesterday’s 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.”
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.