60% Of The Public Support Me (Honest, They Do)

That is the bold claim of the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, Mr John-Paul Campion, who just happens to be a Conservative.

What is he referring to?

He is talking about his bid to incorporate Fire and Rescue Services in his portfolio.

For 3 months he hosted a poll on his website asking the public if they supported him taking over responsibilty for Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire Fire Authorities under his PCC Umbrella, claiming that he could save £4 Million

MORE than 60 per cent of people are in favour of the region’s police and crime commissioner taking over the fire service, a consultation has revealed.

Let’s examine this claim.

The population of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire is a tad more than 1 million people.  If this claim has any credibility it must mean that >600,000 people have taken part in the survey and support the proposal. Yes?

Well, erm, NO actually.

Just over 1,300 people took part in the survey and 61% of them supported the idea. If my abacus is working correctly that would be about 870 people then.  The vast majority of the people did not even support the poll, never mind the proposal.

Acuurate and truthful facts are all I want to hear from my PCC, not spin reminiscent of the kind coming out of the Conservative Party much of the time.  By my reckoning less than 0.1% of the relevant population have actively supported the proposal, not 60%.

You’re Having A Laugh

On 22nd March, a brave Constable was murdered by a cowardly terrorist within the grounds of the Palace of Westminster. His name was Keith Palmer and he died protecting public and politicians alike from said terrorist.

On 3rd June 3 terrorists ran amok on London Bridge, and Borough Market.  A young nurse ran towards the casualties and was brutally murdered by the terrorists. Her name was Kirsty Boden.

On 14th June many exceedingly brave Firefighters faced overwhelming odds and entered the inferno that was Grenfell Tower in an attempt to rescue survivors.

On 28th June a group of politicians cheered when they defeated a motion to lift the cap on pay rises for Nurses, Police Officers and Firefighters.  They were led by someone called Theresa May.

That tells you everything you need to know about this current government.

To express your opinions you could write to your MP www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/

Austerity? More Like Audacity If You Ask Me

Are our esteemed government still expecting us to believe that the myriad of swingeing cuts that we have endured, plus the ones still ahead, are anything at all to do with the mystical Austerity?

I did, for a while, swallow the fallacy, but no longer.

I’m not going to bore you by listing all the impositions we have endured under the Austerity banner but in reality I suspect that they are more to do with the megalomaniac Camoron’s vision for the future and cementing his place in political history.

I should have smelt a bigger rat when Tom Winsor was announced as the Preferred, and ultimately, Successful, Candidate for the head honcho’s job at HMIC.  Gobsmacked was I, but never in my wildest dreams did I realise that was just the beginning, the precedent for the travesties to follow.

The knighthood duly followed, should have seen that one coming, they might just as well have printed it on his Independent Reviews.  It was never really in doubt.

Now we have the latest, but surely not the last, piece of arrogant insanity with the news that Chief Fire Officers may well be eligible in the future, to be appointed as Chief Constables without ever having served at any lower rank in the Police Service.  I shouldn’t really worry about this, they are going to receive some training from the College of Policing, when they’re not too busy training the Direct Entry Inspectards and SuperNintendos.  What could possibly go wrong?

Best of all you don’t even have to take my word for it, you can read all about it here.

I’m not completely against change, I can see some benefits, and I have never been opposed to Efficiency Improvements, I can even see how Emergency Services can benefit from sharing premises, possibly Control Rooms, but that does not mean that they need to share a Command Structure or even a vehicle.

No doubt our old friends Policy Exchange have had some input into this idea, and maybe in a year or two there will just be one Emergency Service, with some poor soul trying to keep all his/her balls in the air.

I’m going to crawl back into my hole now, please wake me up when Spring arrives and the nightmares are over.

The Great Pensions Debacle

The saga is almost over.

The Great Injustice is about to be put right.

It seems that FireFighters and Police Officers who retired between 2001 and 2006, and who commuted any of their pension, were diddled out of some of their lump sum. Not just a little bit either. Retired FireFighter Billy Milne whose case was used by the FBU as a Test Case has been paid out somewhere in the region of £30,000

Between now and the end of the year thousands of us will now be waiting patiently to see the size of our cheques, hopefully a little more than 3 and sixpence.

But that’s not the real issue here.

The first is that this whole saga was brought about about by a deliberate act by the government (Civil Servants not politicians) who not only failed to put it right but fought every attempt viciously through the Courts in an attempt to resist it.

Interest is now payable on the shortfall, going back to 2001 in some cases, making the whole scenario exceedingly expensive, and the Pensions Ombudsman has decreed that the Income Tax on the Interest must be paid by Government, not the Pensioners involved.

I believe the total amount involved in this monumental cockup is in the region of £100 million.

Secondly, this success has been achieved in no small measure by the Stirling efforts of the FBU representing their retired members.  Retired Police Officers who happen to be affected by the same problem benefit as well, but I have not seen any evidence of the Federation taking action to represent their retired members at all. I paid my subs for 30 years and then what?  Seemingly NOTHING.

Many retired Police Officers are now discussing making financial contributions to the FBU by way of a Thank You.

They should be thanking the Federation surely? Except they don’t seem to have done anything.

NOTE TO FED

Please put me right in this if I am mis-informed.

Nice to know that the Federation continues to care about you after taking your money for 30 years.

Nice to know that the government can fight so hard to try and prevent you from getting what you are due.

The Fire Service & Police Pension Update – The Real One

The Ombudsman’s decision has now been made public and it has become clear that he found in favour of the Applicant, a retired Firefighter.

This has implications for thousands of Police Officers and Firefighters who retired between 1998 and 2006.

The full adjudication of the Ombudsman can be found here.

There is also a Technical Note which reads;

The Ombudsman notes that, whilst his findings in the Determination are limited to Mr Milne’s complaint, the principles are the same for other retired firefighters and police officers. To avoid further cases having to be heard, he expects government to make arrangements for payments to be made to others affected, reflecting the more beneficial terms that would have applied had commutation factors been reviewed and, where appropriate, revised at the appropriate times. GAD has prepared tables for use in the calculation of redress, based on a best reconstruction of the commutation factors which would have applied if factors had been reviewed and revised at 1 December 2001 and at 1 December 2004. The mortality and related assumptions used in the development of these tables have been reviewed by an independent firm of consulting actuaries who have confirmed that the assumptions fall within the range that GAD might reasonably have chosen if it had prepared revised commutation factors at these dates. These tables will be passed to the relevant government bodies.

It seems to be clear that the Ombudsman EXPECTS that Police and Fire Authorities will do the honourable thing now and pay out all those affected without thousands more cases going to Court.  Mrs May might conceivably try to interfere, and that would make her even less popular than she already is, we shall see.

In the meantime, don’t spend it before you’ve cashed the cheque just in case.