Minister Must Intervene
The headline says it all. Today Wednesday 31st August Mrs Justice Nicola Davies delivered judgement against the Federation and dismissed our Judicial Review to declare that Section 10 of the Public Services Pension Act 2013 should regard CNC officers as members of a police service. The argument turned entirely on strict legal interpretation and policy issues could not be ventilated. This is a disappointing result. Had she concluded that we were members of a police service for the purposes of the Act we would have been automatically entitled to retirement at 60 in common with our colleagues in the rest of the UK police service.
A successful outcome would also have saved each of the parties a major headache. Rarely have we had a better example of the "law is an ass". The defendant, the Civil Nuclear Police Authority, had openly accepted that retirement at 60 was the sensible decision but we were obliged to cite them for the purpose of forcing a judicial review. In the course of the judicial review, counsel for the interested parties (the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and HM Treasury) conceded that there had been no final decision as to what will be the terms of the future pension scheme to be applied to the CNC. We can only assume from that admission that must also include the pension age.
On the back of the court judgement your Chairman Mark and I are urgently pressing for a meeting with the Energy Minister, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, to establish the way forward. The issue for all of us is simple: there is no reasonable prospect of a CNC police officer serving to a retirement age of 65. All the professional authorities concede this. It is also self-evident that to set a retirement age which no employee can reach is unreasonable, morally indefensible and cynical. The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy needs to propose a realistic solution.
Foremost in making their views known has been our Chief Constable Mr Mike Griffith who with the support of the Police Authority Chairman Sir Philip Trousdell, has not hesitated to point out to the Government the folly of setting a pension age which takes no account of the physically challenging demands of the job. Without a retirement age of 60 the CNC will gradually become unsustainable. This Federation is grateful for their leadership and support.
It is also worth noting that it was the present Prime Minister, Mrs Theresa May, who agreed a retirement age of 60 for the UK police service in 2011 when she was Home Secretary. If necessary we will also seek her agreement that the men and women of the fittest and most aggressively armed police force in the UK, charged with protecting the nation's civil nuclear assets and with playing a major anti-terrorist role, cannot be expected to be serving until their mid-sixties.
We will advise the membership of developments as soon as we see progress.
Nigel Dennis - Chief Executive Mark Nelson - Chairman