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Pensions stalemate

A stalemate between the Home Office and forces means officers in the Police Pension Scheme 1987 will lose out financially if they retire when they have between 25 and 30 years' service.

The Home Office had agreed to amend the regulations to lift a commutation restriction affecting these officers. However, it insisted that forces would need to fund the difference between the original provision and the larger commutation payment this would have allowed.

But chief officers say forces cannot afford to do this.

The Federation's general secretary, Andy Fittes, has commented: "We have lobbied for a number of years to remove this restriction. Officers who do not want to do the job anymore, and who are in the upper pay scales and nearing retirement, should be allowed to leave without penalty - this benefits the service, which is already low on funding and morale."

Members of the 1987 scheme who retire with between 25 and 30 years' pensionable service are currently restricted in the amount they can commute on retirement to 2.25 times the initial annual pension.

Home Office ministers had agreed to amend the regulations and in January, the Federation was consulted on draft regulations which would allow chief officers discretion to lift the restriction within their forces. However, forces would have had to fund the difference between the 2.25x provision and the larger commutation payment.

In its response to the consultation, the Federation said:

  • The current restriction should be removed in its entirety and not be subject to chief officer discretion;
  • The current restriction prevents officers who wish to retire from doing so;
  • Chief constables/forces should not be required to fund the difference in payment; and
  • In its proposed form, the need for forces to fund this will be a barrier and the higher commutation provision won't be used.

The National Police Chiefs' Council has similar views to the Federation on the funding of this provision, but the Home Office is refusing to consult further.