Independent PCC candidate to fight for cash bonus for ‘Covid Hero Cops’
An independent candidate standing to become North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner has pledged to lobby the Home Secretary to pay all police officers a Covid bonus.
Mark Young, who is a county councillor in Denbighshire, says he’s pledged to fight for the £500 payment because they deserve recognition for their “heroic service” during the pandemic.
Cllr Young, the chair of the Safer North Wales Partnership Board and Denbighshire County Council’s lead member for Safer Communities, Public Protection and Domestic abuse, says police officers across the region have regularly gone above and beyond the call of duty over the past year.
He has also criticised the Welsh Government for not making police officers a high enough priority in vaccination programme.
Also standing in the election are Patricia Astbury for the Conservatives, Andy Dunbobbin for Labour, Ann Griffith for Plaid Cymru, and Lisa Wilkins for the Liberal Democrats
Cllr Young, who owns Chocolate Shop, said: “Quite rightly, health and social care staff in Wales have received bonuses from the Welsh Government for their immeasurable contribution during the Covid-19 emergency.
“But police officers appear to be the forgotten heroes again of this terrible pandemic that has turned our lives upside down.
“It is disgraceful that the Welsh Government has ignored repeated calls to give priority to frontline officers in getting a jab.
He added: “Being a police officer can be a dangerous profession even in normal times but the risks have been raised to another level as a result of the virus and the immense challenges it has posed in terms of policing.
“The behaviour of some people has been despicable because police officers have been coughed and spat at, causing very real anxiety and fears about catching Covid-19.
“If I am elected on May 6, I will ask the Chief Constable to support me in making the case to the Home Secretary as to why our heroic officers should be recognised in the same way as health staff and work with the Chief of police on delivering a Covid bonus of £500
“There are around 1,450 serving police officers and 250 Police Community Support Officers in North Wales and this will cost around £1 million. It is clearly affordable and truly deserved because our officers are one in a million.”
In his campaign, Cllr Young has also promised to put the people of the north ahead of party politics and to represent them “without fear or favour”.
The father-of-one he hit national headlines back in 2015 when he patrolled the town centre of Denbigh on three consecutive nights after a spate of burglaries and vandalism.
He said: “As an independent police and crime commissioner, I would be able to serve the people unlike other candidates who would have to serve their political masters in Cardiff or Westminster – or both.
“I am the candidate who can keep the political parties out of running North Wales Police.
“Rather than being subservient to vested political interests, I will always put the people of North Wales first.
“My pledge is to always do what I believe to be the right thing and this includes requesting a one off £500 bonus to police officers who often put their lives on the line on our behalf.”