Police agree pension deal
By Mark Smulian | 5 September 2012
Police representatives and the Home Office have struck a deal on future pensions for officers and staff, as part of the government’s changes to all public sector schemes.
Consultation is still to come on details but the Police Federation hailed Home Secretary Theresa May’s announcement as ‘the best deal possible’.
May said yesterday that, following talks on proposals she first made in March, there would be a defined benefit pension scheme based on career average rather than final salaries. The scheme will have a provisional accrual rate of 1/55.3 of pensionable earnings each year, with no cap on how much pension entitlement can be accrued.
Pensions would be uprated in line with the consumer prices index plus 1.25%, and rights already built up would be protected, she added.
Average member contributions from April 2015 would be 13.7% to reflect that the scheme requires higher employee contributions than others in the public sector, but also allows pensions to be drawn earlier. Officers currently pay between 9.5% and 11% into schemes.
The normal pension age remains at 60 but officers may retire from 55 with a reduced pension.
Paul McKeever, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents lower police ranks, said: ‘Despite being disappointed with aspects of this announcement, staff side accepts it within the context of the government’s wider public service pension’s reform agenda.
‘It is clear from our discussions with the Home Office that, compared with the reference scheme offered by the home secretary on March 27, this was the best deal possible to protect the unique position of police officers.’
Mark Burns-Williamson, chair of the Association of Police Authorities, said: ‘We recognise that changes must be made to all public sector pension schemes so that they are sustainable for employees and fair for both pension policy holders and the taxpayer.’
The change forms part of the government’s wider reforms to public sector pensions, which include the schemes for civil servants, NHS staff, teachers and local government workers.