Police Pay, Pensions and Conditions – It All Makes Sense Now

But I still don’t agree with it.

Correct me if I’m wrong but the first major changes came with Tom Winsor’s ‘Independent’ Reviews.

Instead of being able to retire on a full pension after 30 years service ‘Tom’ recommended increasing retirement age to 60 for a full pension. The Pension Scheme itself was changed from a Final Salary Scheme to a Career Average Scheme. I can’t remember the numbers but I think that the contributions level was also increased. In other words, today’s generation of Police Officers are paying more, paying for longer and receiving less than a) their predecessors and b) their reasonable expectations when they first joined their Pension Scheme.

Fast Forward to 2018 and the College of Policing have introduced the 3 new routes i to Policing. They have also introduced the concept of a ‘Healthy Churn’. They no longer expect Police Officers to hang around for 40 years, and they will actually help you to leave and be a fine ‘Ambassador’ for Policing.

I find it highly unlikely that the new breed of Graduate Entrants will hang around for 40 years unless they climb the greasy pole.

Therefore the vast majority of the workforce will serve maybe 5-10 years, burn out, then join the churn and move on.

Add in the effect of pay levels being frozen for years and the potential benefits for the Pension Pot become crystal clear.

The Police Service is in crisis, there is no doubt, but the bigger tragedy is that evil government plans (reforms) pushed so viciously by Cruella and the Sycophants, have been Aided and Abetted by ACPO/NPCC. Even now only a minority of the Chiefs are speaking out.

It all makes sense – Churn is healthy for those that pay your pensions. Other Public Services take note.

This is what it has always been about, can you spot the traitors?

Reality Bites

This post is aimed at my non-Police reader, for reasons that I hope will be obvious, so if you’re the Police Officer I won’t be offended if you don’t read it.  You will possibly have read a lot from me and others about the government fiddling with Police Pensions and maybe wonder what all the fuss is about.

Last night I was ‘chatting’ in an electronic sort of way, with a chap who told me that he was a Police Officer in a Force in the southern half of the country.

We were chatting about the 74 Police Officers who have allegedly accepted ‘Voluntary Redundancy’ in Gwent.

This officer has 15 years service, meaning that he joined his force long before May and Winsor came along and changed people’s pensions.  He signed up to a Pension knowing that in 30 years time he could retire and would have had a rough idea what his pension would have been worth to him.

Then it all changed.

At 15 years service he is an experienced officer, would have been  halfway through his  service with another 15 to go.

Now he has a further 24 years left to serve.

He is paying more each month into his pension.

He will be paying more each month for a full 9 years more.

In 24 years time his pension will be worth less than it would have been worth under the scheme he signed up to.

This was not a voluntary change, it was imposed on him, and all his colleagues, during his service, by Theresa May and Tom Winsor.

The last thing he said to me last night was that if anybody comes near him with a set of Voluntary Redundancy forms he will snatch them out of their hands and sign them.

My question to you is two-fold;

Put yourself in this officer’s place, how would you feel about what has been done to your career, your pension, your retirement plans?

Is it right for the government to treat our brave officers so shabbily part-way through their service?  Changes to pension schemes are normally introduced for new members, not existing members.

I hope this has given you a bit more insight into what just some of the issues are and how they affect people in a real way.

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.

Thieving, Money-Grabbing Bar Stewards

And that’s just our esteemed Government.

Over the years we have seen a succession of governments mount a sustained attack on the Police Pension Scheme.  Up until recently it was generally accepted that these changes would only apply to new members of the scheme and that existing members would retain their existing Terms, Conditions and Benefits.

Then the coalition and Winsor came along and absolutely slaughtered that principle, bringing in changes that fundamentally changed the Police Pension Scheme for all. Out went the Final Salary Scheme, in came the Career Average Scheme, and, putting it simply, one had to pay more in, work for more years and then draw less pension at the end of it.

In the background we had the cynical farce that meant that MPs’ pay and pensions would be greatly improved.  They even bleated that “we’re terribly embarrassed by this but the law won’t allow for us to decline to accept it”   What an LOB.  In order to bring in their reforms to Police Pensions they had to change the law in order for their unlawful reforms to be suddenly made lawful.  They could do the same again couldn’t they?  Oh no, for some reason that’s not on the agenda.

So now we are left with the situation that EVERY serving officer has suffered at the hands of the government. The unthinkable happened and they raided the pension scheme of existing members too.

I thought that was bad enough. In fact I thought that was despicable and unforgivable. Couldn’t really get much worse could it?

Yes, apparently it could.

It has recently been made public knowledge that the government of the day had raided the pots of retired Police Officers and Firefighters.  A Firefighter in Scotland noticed that his commutation had been considerably less than colleagues who retired after him.  With the aid of the Fire Brigade Union he fought the government.

I think it’s fair to say that the government played dirty.  They challenged just about everything they possibly could, delaying the proceedings, adding to the costs of the action, no doubt hoping that the FBU would run out of steam and quietly go away.  The government, in the form of the Goverment Actuary Department, played every trick they could, including a Judicial Review, claiming that they were not accountable to the Pensions Ombudsman and were not bound by his decisions.

The details of these actions and counter-actions are available elsewhere so I won’t bore you with them here, but the end result was that Mr Milne eventually won his case and the Pensions Ombudsman recognised that several thousand other Fire Fighters and Police a Officers were affected by this and he did NOT expect them all to now launch similar actions, but that Pension Administrators will now do the honourable thing and identify those affected and rectify the situation,

So far, so good, but what’s all the fuss about, so a few thousand people have received a couple of hundred pounds less than they should have done on their lump sum.

The repeated failure of the Government Actuary Department to adjust the Commutation Tables meant that retiring Police Officers and Firefighters were being diddled out of a lot more than a couple of hundred pounds.

It has been variously reported in different newspapers that Mr Milne has been paid out between £25,0000 and £30,000. PLUS £6,000 in interest after the Pensions Ombudsman stated that he expected the government to pay interest on the amount owing.

This judgement potentially applies to every Firefighter and Police Officer who retired between 2001 and 2006, and commuted part of their pension.

Work it out, the government has fiddled us out of £MILLIONS.

Mr Milne said

‘The Government played every trick in the book to avoid paying. They knew they were in the wrong but submitted appeal after appeal – and holding up proceedings for all these years will have cost the taxpayer unnecessarily.

‘Firefighters and police who retired after 2006 were getting a large amount more, and when it was realised this was due to an error, we felt cheated. This is money hard-working men and women are due. It is not a gift. We all paid into our pensions for many years.’

There are now thousands of retired Police Officers and Firefighters awaiting the end of July to see what will be in their “pay packets”.  It just goes to prove that the Public Sector can’t trust a government of ANY colour. Successive governments have compounded the wrongdoing and forced the FBU into fighting all the way on our collective be halves, and, for that, we thank you.

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.