Support Police Officer Mark Lee from unfair dismissal after walk with autistic son


Support Police Officer Mark Lee from unfair dismissal after walk with autistic son

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Started by Emma Lee

My husband Mark, a police officer, is at risk of losing his job for taking our autistic son for a walk during lockdown. He has already been fined and now he might be sacked - all for trying to help our son.

This is happening while news is coming out that Downing Street hosted a party with a hundred people invited during lockdown - meanwhile we face a family crisis because we desperately tried to support our son during a very difficult time. Please support our petition against this injustice!

In December 2020 Mark drove and went for a walk outside the 20 mile radius allowed in lockdown in Wales. He was accompanied by myself and our young son Wilf. For those who don’t know, my son Wilf (currently being assessed for Autism and other neurological disorders and learning disabilities) has severe autistic traits, as well as no understanding of Coronavirus at all. He cannot keep himself safe, nor can he stay inside the house all day as he is very active. 

He is very strong, sensory seeking and needs a way to get rid of his energy safely. My friends and family can attest to how difficult life can be for Wilf. He CANNOT understand the concept of social distancing. 

According to The Guardian (an article dated 14th April 2020) it was reported that Covid policy was updated, and in the UK people with learning disabilities or autism ‘can leave the house for exercise more than once a day and can travel outside of their local area under current lockdown measures, the government has said. The updated advice reads: “If you (or a person in your care) have a specific health condition that requires you to leave the home to maintain your health – including if that involves travel beyond your local area – then you can do so. “This could, for example, include where individuals with learning disabilities or autism require specific exercise in an open space two or three times each day’. 

Mark and I believe this applies to Wilf. 

So in December 2020, we travelled more than 20 miles for a walk. We didn't hide this as from our understanding, we were in line with current policy and legislation. Mark was later prosecuted and fined. 

My husband admitted to going on this walk which we dispute was a breach of Covid regulations. We have a duty as parents to keep our son healthy and safe. We have that responsibility and we take it seriously. He pled guilty as he believes in our justice system. 

However with the North Wales Police head-quarter’s response, we do believe he has been failed. North Wales Police allege that Mark has breached the "standards of professional behaviour relating to discreditable conduct which constitutes gross misconduct", and he will be meeting with the misconduct panel on Thursday January 13.

Discreditable conduct is defined as ‘any behaviour that discredits the police service or undermines public confidence’. Mark was following the guidelines reported above in regards to having a child with disabilities. We do NOT believe he undermined public confidence or discredited his profession.

Mark has been a loyal public servant for over 12 years, and could lose this for ensuring our son’s needs were met and responded to. He is a dedicated police officer. He has experienced serious trauma from injuries sustained on the job, and has openly admitted to the detriment of his mental health through this stress. 

The stress this situation has caused is insurmountable. We have a family to care for, a 3 month old baby included. Mark now faces losing his career because we went for a walk. Meanwhile Boris Johnson attended parties in the Downing Street garden - where is the fairness in that?!

We need the public's support. 

I am asking everyone, friends and strangers, please would you sign this petition?


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