In a statement last week announcing how it had managed to persuade the Home Office to compromise on its plans to reform police pensions, the Police Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales (PSAEW) said it would “continue to engage with the Home Office to attempt to secure the best possible pension arrangements for its members”.
However, as the union prepares for its annual conference, it has toughened its stance, threatening to instruct members to work to rule. This would include not doing any unpaid overtime, not accommodating 11th hour shift changes and not appearing at court sessions or major events.
PSAEW president chief superintendent Derek Barnett said: “We cannot close our eyes to the situation we face, and the consequence we are seeing already is the loss of goodwill.
“The same goodwill where police officers work long additional hours without claiming reward, readily accept last-minute changes to shifts to fill the gaps on the street and are recalled to duty to attend court or to police riots and major events. The precise value of this goodwill is inestimable but runs into the hundreds of millions of pounds each year.”
Last week the union made this statement: “Unfortunately, it was not possible to obtain any movement from the government on the [pensions] contribution rate. However, by engaging in the consultation process and accepting the proposed changes [we have] been able to secure … improvements on the Home Secretary’s preferred scheme.”
These include any member who serves until at least 55 will now be able from that point to retire and take that pension immediately. Also, transitional arrangements have been improved, including an extension of the tapering protection to those within four years of full protection. If there had been no involvement in the consultation process, the PSAEW said, then under the Home Secretary’s preferred scheme any member who left service before 60 would have had to wait until state pension age (SPA) before accessing his or her career average pension (or to have an actuarial reduction calculated from SPA). Also, fewer officers would have been given protection by the transitional arrangements.
The union said: “While the PSAEW would have wished to have been able to secure the continuance of the PPS and NPPS for existing members, this was simply not achievable. The improvements that have been secured over the Home Secretary’s preferred scheme ensure that the majority of PSAEW members, although unfortunately not all, will either benefit from either from full protection or tapering arrangements. In addition, there will now be greater flexibility around when members can choose to retire giving greater options to suit individual needs.”
It added: “Although the framework of the new scheme and the transitionary arrangements have now been agreed, there is a huge amount of work yet to be done to develop the detail that will underpin these arrangements. The PSAEW will continue to engage with the Home Office to attempt to secure the best possible arrangements for its members.”