Police Oracle -Idea is being explored at highest level, and one chief explained why he advocates its introduction
Police chiefs are exploring whether to ask the government to change pension rules in order to retain officers with specialist skills beyond 30 years of service.
There is currently a shortage of detectives and firearms personnel, and chiefs have already requested these specialisms be singled out for bonus payments – something which is yet to be permitted. Now there is a clamour for a change of pensions rules to incentivise these officers to not retire.
National lead for workforce Chief Constable Francis Habgood has been tasked to work on the concept.
PoliceOracle.com asked the NPCC press office for information about the idea on April 7 but we were yet to receive an organisational response before this article was set live.
However Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon, who was speaking to PoliceOracle.com to mark his imminent retirement, raised the issue as he believes it is important the service debates it.
He said: “We've got a problem of recruiting firearms officers at a time when we're supposed to have a national uplift, we've got a problem of getting detectives at a time when we need more detectives which is for a whole host of reasons, but I do think we should be looking at something where we can retain people.
“I know there are occupations – the NHS and teaching for example – where people retire, they're able to get their pension and they carry on working, and I'm not making a case for myself at all here because I'm finishing and I'm finishing.
“It seems daft that we're still haemorrhaging skills and talent at 30-years service because people want to access their pension but can't come back. I think something around a 30+ scheme needs to be debated because if we can't supply enough firearms teams in this current threat, if we haven't got enough detectives sworn or unsworn who can do our child protection work – we've got a problem.”
CC Creedon, who retires next week after a 37-year career, acknowledged that a strong business case would need to be made for the changes – which the government may be reluctant to do.
But he said: “It does seem a nonsense that you can have a fully trained-up, brilliant officer who is 49-years-old who just goes. It just seems crazy. But to make them stay you've got to make it financially interesting.”
The long-serving chief had previously advocated “some sort of severance scheme” and says he feels both could be used in the modern workforce.
“I think there are people who – at whatever stage of service – feel it's not their career any more, but because their pay is okay and because there's a pension, they stay. I think it would be worth looking at opportunities to let them go with the right dignity, the right package so actually we can look at skills the other end.
“We've got a lot more people leaving mid-service than ever before, if you look at pay, conditions, pensions – they've gone backwards. I think that's a worry as well,” he said.
A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs Council initially told PoliceOracle.com, after nearly two weeks consideration, that the idea for the 30-plus pension was supported by the Police Federation and the NPCC was “continuing to raise the issue” with the Home Office.
Since both the Police Federation and Home Office told us they were not aware of an official approach on the matter, Police Oracle sought clarification but received no further comment.
After this article was set live an NPCC spokesman said they had raised the options with the Home Office and Police Federation, and that they "will continue to have discussions" on the matter.
A spokesman for the Fed said: "We will need to see more detail in relation to this and consistency in approach will be key."