Posted: 07.04.21 at 14:18 by The Editor
POLICE officers and firefighters and support staff across both services across Essex have received a £100 bonus for their work in combating the coronavirus pandemic.
The bonus idea was put forward by Police and Fire Commissioner Roger Hirst and though it has been welcomed by the chiefs of both emergency services, it has attracted criticism in some quarters as Mr Hirst is due to stand for re-election to his office in May and the move is regarded by his critics as simple electioneering.
An Essex Police spokesperson said: “Every day and night for the last year, Essex Police officers and staff have been on the frontline protecting and serving our County in the face of a deadly pandemic.
“Acknowledging the sacrifices that they and their loved ones have made is the right thing to do.”
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer /Chief Executive Jo Turton said: "Throughout the last year, our colleagues have been part of a response to an unprecedented national emergency and have continued to be there when our public needs us.
“With that in mind, as a token of recognition, all colleagues (except for our Service Leadership Team) have received an additional £100 (gross/before tax) in their March pay.
"I am so incredibly proud of our service, and this gesture is just one of the ways we are recognising and showing our employees how grateful we are for everything they continue to do."
Standing against Mr Hirst will be Labour’s candidate, Chris Vince.
A local Labour member said: “It is somewhat distasteful that this has just been announced, with an election weeks away.
“No one would dispute the extra yards the emergency services have gone and no-one is going to belittle a bonus for police and firefighters but is a bonus is to be paid it should have been across the board to all emergency services and care workers who have put themselves at risk. Their efforts are worth far more than an electioneering tool for Mr Hirst.”
The payments have also caused controversy among NHS staff who have not received a bonus and who have described their one per cent pay review offered by the government as derisory.
One NHS worker in Essex said: it appeared there was “no value” places on NHS staff.
She added: “We are exhausted, we are demoralised, we are fed up.”