FIREFIGHTERS and police officers across Essex are set to receive a £100 ‘Covid bonus’ in recognition of their work during trying times throughout the pandemic.

The pay-out, which is expected to cost £833,439, is set to be approved by police, fire and crime commissioner Roger Hirst.

A report to go before the commissioner recommended the police bonus as a reward “for diligence, special meritorious conduct and outstanding work for the public.”

Chief Constable BJ Harrington said: “The operating environment has been outstandingly demanding due to the personal restrictions and risks to health.

“The commitment and professionalism of all those within Essex Police has been outstanding with improvements in performance and reductions in sickness as well as the trust and confidence of partners and the public being objective evidence of this.”

Chief Fire Officer Jo Turton said the payment would recognise the “outstanding” work of Essex Fire Service.

“In the face of incredible challenges and what often felt like an ever-changing situation, you adapted,” she said.

“You stood strong. You were there for each other – and the people of the county of Essex, keeping them safe throughout the pandemic.”

The payout comes as NHS workers speak out against a planned 1 per cent pay rise for frontline staff.

Holly Turner, a nurse from Colchester, previously said it is “absolutely devastating” to see the Government “place no value” in staff.

She warned industrial action could be taken in the long term amid growing anger at the proposals.

She added: “We are exhausted, we are demoralised, we are fed up — but there is also an increased level of anger.”

Last month the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The pandemic has real consequences and we have done all that we can to protect jobs and save livelihoods. The recommended pay rise for NHS staff is what is affordable while acknowledging their work and commitment.”