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What is the Medals for Heroes campaign?

Police staff associations have joined forces with prison officers and the Fire Brigades Union to petition for a new award to recognise the service of emergency workers who have died in the line of duty.

The Police Federation, the Police Superintendents’ Association and the Prison Officers Association are calling for unique recognition for those who have died while doing their job. 

Launched in April, the campaign has so far received cross-party support and the backing of the Scottish government. 

The groups are now lobbying for Home Office approval. 

The award would be similar in status to the Elizabeth Cross, awarded to bereaved relatives of members of the British Armed Forces killed in military action. 

One of the key campaigners is Bryn Hughes, whose daughter PC Nicola Hughes and colleague PC Fiona Bone were murdered in 2012 while responding to a report of a burglary in Greater Manchester. 

Police Oracle spoke with Byrn Hughes on what such a medal would mean for him.

“I was looking at the citation for the Queen’s Police Medla and it actually said “acts of exceptional courage and skill at the cost of their lives” and I thought at the time, why would this not be an automatic nomination from Chief Constables once you have an officer mudered?” he said. 

“Then it was a chance conversation I had with some of the Federation and it’s just grown from there.” 

Mr Hughes explained that things have temporarily been put on hold as Parliament has gone to recess, but Mr Hughes explained that Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burhnam has written to PCCs and currently has the support of most of them so far. 

PFEW’s Deputy National Secretary John Partington 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.”

Mr Hughes said: “It’s that emblem, that recognition, which you can take home and you can look at it whenever you want. You look can look at the medal with pride, or you can look at it with sadness, but you've got it and it’s yours and that's the official recognition for the sacrifice they made.

“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.

“The consensus is - we hope we get the medal, but we hope we never have to use it.” 

Bryn Hughes has also been invited to the Superintendents Association Conference taking place in September. 

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