When I joined the police in December 1998 I, along with every other new recruit, did so on the understanding that I would be providing the police with 30 years of my life in exchange for quite a good pension at the end of those 30 years.
It would now appear however that this is no longer to be the case, if what I understand from correspondence passed to me is correct.
I considered, when writing this piece to send a copy to the Home Secretary, but decided upon consideration of her recent performances, not to bother wasting the price of a stamp, as it would appear that she has already decided that the only way forward, is to alienate and shaft the police service without even the common courtesy to enter into negotiations with them.
It has become obvious to the majority of the rank and file officers, (who will still be required to police the inevitable strikes by other organisations who are also being ‘shafted’ by this administration) that they are totally undervalued and held in contempt by the Home Secretary, many believe that she has absolutely no interest in the health of the UK police service and would be quite content to stand aside and watch it wither and die.
And wither and die it will, if the police are unable to attract the suitable standard of candidate for employment. I have previously made every effort to encourage individuals who, on the face of it would make good officers, to join the Police. I now however find myself thinking ‘go and become a plumber’ or get a job where what you do is valued.
I have gone on a bit of a tangent there, as the focus of this is the underhanded backroom manoeuvring which is going on to destroy the pension scheme that we all had at the forefront of our minds when we joined.
The Police pay more into their pension scheme that any other organisation, having said that, I absolutely understand that, if there is a financial black hole in the fund then it needs to be filled. That is why, (or so I thought) negotiations are ongoing to increase the police officers pension contributions in April next year, 2013 and 2014, taking them to 14%. This will mean in real terms, a pay cut to me of over Â£1000 by April 2014. But this is going towards my pension so I accept that.
What I find incredulous is that under the Hutton review the Police pension scheme (both the old type and the new) is to be scrapped in 2015. This would have to be negotiated with the Home Secretary first …… what am I thinking, she doesn’t need to negotiate with anyone does she!?
In basic terms, when the Police Pension scheme is to be frozen in 2015, that will be it. It will never grow and you will have, when you retire, what you had put away in the scheme on that date. I’m sure the government will introduce a new scheme, which will be of little value to its members who pledged the best part of their lives to the Police, and to the government under the old scheme.
The Police are currently protected under Section 2 of the Pensions Regulations Legislation, but a government which is so anti – police and cavalier with the future of its police officers and police forces would think nothing of changing these regulations would they?
So, who would join the Police in the future, when the New – New Pension scheme is in place? Not me and not the majority of the disillusioned officers that currently occupy the office of constable. You will always get applications for Police Jobs but you will get a lower standard of candidate, whose expectations are lower. This government will eventually get the Police Service that it deserves.
Why won’t the Home Sec or pensions minister come out and tell the police officers of Great Britain exactly what is going on? Despite what the government officials will say, there is an overwhelming feeling within the police that if, as expected, our pensions are not just reformed, which we accept is appropriate, but scrapped as Hutton wants, then there must be a movement commenced to obtain the right to strike. Britain has the only Police Service in Europe, possibly the world, that does not have that right. Previously, that has been borne in mind when officials have negotiated with the police, but now we see a government with absolutely no respect for their officers for the first time.
We have seen the devastating effect that the government cuts have had on the Police during the recent rioting. Even then, Cameron stated that the apparent lack of police response was not down to cuts, but poor planning. Grow up David! The cuts I have seen at first hand cause police forces to cut the number of front line officers.
The police once again find themselves at war, what is different this time is that the war is not against the criminals that blight our society, but the Whitehall officials who seek to destroy your police forces.
Keep that in mind Home Secretary and PM, when the general strikes hit. Keep it in mind when the next round of riots arrives. The legacy of this government will be to have presided over the death of the Great British police service.
I have it on good authority that Mickey Mouse is now wearing a ‘U.K. Government watch’.