Forced A19 retirements ‘lawful’, rules Court of Appeal
Officers have lost an appeal against the decision to force them to retire under controversial cost-cutting plans.
More than 1,300 officers with 30 years’ service were made to retire when forces began applying Regulation A19 in 2010.
A 2014 Employment Tribunal found that its use by five forces amounted to indirect discrimination, but this judgment was overturned by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).
The Police Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales (PSAEW, along with a number of officers and former officers, lodged an appeal against the EAT’s verdict in 2015.
On Wednesday (February 1), the Court of Appeal dismissed this case and ruled that the use of Regulation A19 was lawful.
The full wriiten judgment will be available in due course
Commenting on the powers contained within the new Policing and Crime Bill where officers subject to a misconduct allegation within 12 months of resigning or retiring would be liable to face disciplinary proceedings Steve Edwards Chief Executive of NARPO said:
There seems to be in our view a huge misconception that somehow Police Officers can resign or retire and thus avoid any investigation whatsoever.
Obviously this is not true; if an allegation were of a serious nature then it must be remembered that both during and after their service Police Officers are subject of criminal law and cannot avoid a criminal investigation into alleged wrongdoing.
It is difficult to see the value of this new power as the sanctions available are relevant to their employment within the Police service and not relevant once they have left the service. We would also question why the Police Service appears to have been singled out as after all there are other public services with similar misconduct systems.
Steve Edwards also raised concerns about the increase in historical inquiries after the Government suggested it could launch an inquiry into the events at Orgreave during the miners’ strike:
It must be remembered that these incidents arose quite some time ago and were set against a totally different political backdrop to the one we have now, and whilst we do not condone in any way unlawful behaviour, it is a fact that many of those police officers involved are now quite elderly, some of them will be vulnerable individuals with disabilities and illnesses and we would question whether another enquiry is the right thing to do and we would wonder what such enquiry would seek to achieve.
Any investigation in relation to events during the miners’ dispute must involve investigations into the tactics employed not just by Police Forces but by the NUM and by the Government of the day.
We would question the purpose of another long protracted investigation that no doubt would involve many hours work and at a considerable cost to the taxpayer.
IPCC Hillsborough monthly update
NARPO RESPONSE TO THE HILLSBOROUGH INQUEST VERDICTS
Throughout this enquiry NARPO both nationally and locally in South Yorkshire have encouraged our members to assist in the process and we are extremely grateful to those members that volunteered to participate in this long process, some of them despite their age and failing health.
Without the participation of those retired officers these proceedings would not have been possible. Their participation in this process was totally voluntary and there were many examples of outstanding actions and selflessness by police officers on that tragic day as they did their best to deal with the tragic disaster unfolding before them.
We have always had enormous sympathy for the grief of the families and friends of the 96 who tragically lost their lives at Hillsborough on that day. Our thoughts are with them and we truly hope that they have gained some comfort following the Inquests and its verdicts.
Undoubtedly this has been an extremely stressful, difficult and sensitive period for the families of the 96 but also for those retired officers who volunteered to participate, and NARPO would like to pay particular tribute to the South Yorkshire NARPO Welfare Group, who have given up their own time to tirelessly support those members involved and ensure that the welfare needs of our retired colleagues has been given paramount importance.
Whilst there are still ongoing investigations it would in our view be inappropriate to make any further comment, but we will with the help of the South Yorkshire NARPO Welfare Group, continue to support our members throughout the ongoing enquiries and we sincerely hope that a timely and satisfactory conclusion can be reached.
WIDOWS PENSION FOR LIFE INJUSTICE
Following recent changes to the Regulations concerning survivors’ pensions, and how they are dealt with should the survivor remarry, co-habit or form a civil partnership, it has become clear that there are three different approaches in operation within the United Kingdom.
In Northern Ireland all survivors of members of the RUC pension scheme now retain their pensions for life irrespective of the circumstances of the death of the former officer. As a result all survivors are entitled to have their pensions reinstated effective from 1 July 2014.
On the 18th January this year the 2006 Police [Injury Benefit] Regulations were amended.
This change means that survivors’ pensions paid in respect of 1987 scheme members will no longer be subject to the forfeiture rule where the police officer dies or dies as a result of an injury received on duty.
In England and Wales this change only applies to widows, widowers or surviving civil partners, who marry, remarry, form a civil partnership or start to cohabit on or after 1st April 2015. This change came into force retrospectively from 1st April 2015.
In Scotland however the change applies to all those wives, husbands, or civil partners of police officers who died on duty who have already had their pension withdrawn because of remarriage, forming a civil partnership or cohabitation and consequently they will have their pension reinstated with effect from 1 October 2015, irrespective of the date of their remarriage, cohabitation or civil partnership.
Steve Edwards Chief Executive of NARPO said:
"This is a ridiculous situation, and extremely unfair to those survivors of police officers who deserve to be treated fairly and equally throughout the United Kingdom. This just further highlights the vagaries of the system of Government in this country, which allows one section of society to be treated less favourably than others, based solely on where a police officer served. We urge Government to think again on this issue and restore the pensions of those survivors irrespective of where their loved one served or when they married, remarried, cohabited or formed a civil partnership and bring the rest of the UK into line with Northern Ireland."
See more and find out how you can help at: WIDOWS PENSION FOR LIFE
Commenting on the announcement NARPO President Ian Potter said:
“Whilst NARPO are supportive of this announcement it does not address the real issue of all the other police widows who are faced with the demeaning and daunting choice of either living alone or forfeiting their pension to enjoy companionship and happiness in later life.
Whilst this move is welcomed, it comes nowhere near to putting police widows in the rest of the United Kingdom on the same footing as those police widows of deceased Northern Ireland police officers, who now retain and have had their widows pension reinstated as a result of a change made by the Northern Ireland Assembly last year.
All we are asking for is parity across the board for all police widows throughout the United Kingdom. I urge Government to take a closer look at this matter and eradicate this glaringly obvious inequality and unfairness as soon as possible.”
We also note that the Chancellor announced that:
“On 1 April 2015, the government will be introducing new and reformed public service pension schemes. All these new schemes will allow widows, widowers and civil partners across the public sector workforces to retain survivor benefits if they remarry, cohabit or form a civil partnership.”
This however is no different to the terms of the 2006 Police Pension Scheme which afforded the same rights. NARPO President Ian Potter commented:
“I would welcome some clarification on this point; but it is hoped that the real intention is to give the same rights to ALL police widows from the 1st April 2015 and not just those whose husbands are members of the new schemes”