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Seconded Federation Chairman

Pensions and officer recruitment and retention are some of the major issues concerning Civil Nuclear Police Officers, their Federation has said.

Gary Thwaite (pictured) has taken over as Civil Nuclear Police Federation Chairman of the Civil Nuclear Police Federation on a six-month secondment from Mark Nelson - and has spent much of that time meeting members and discussing their concerns.

His temporary assignment has been challenging so far, he said, especially when it comes to addressing the issues high up on members' agendas. "Pensions is the big one," he said.

"We are continuing to work hard on the pensions front and I've been doing a lot of that policy work so far. I've had to find my feet quickly with pensions and the politics of pensions. It remains one of the big issues for us as a Federation."

The Federation continues to lobby The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the Treasury over pensions - and CNC officers' pension age.

Gary added: "And our force is transitioning, moving forward. We're widening our capability as a force so there are several challenges which come with that and we've got a bit of a recruitment and retention battle going on at the minute. We're in competition with other forces [for officers], so there's been a quite a lot to do on that.

"I've noticed when I'm going around all the different sites, that they've all got different concerns depending on where they are. It could be travelling into the site or issues such as at Sizewell where they don't get the London weighting allowance where a site 10 miles down the road or 20 miles down the road does, for example."

Gary is also hoping to spend more time with Reps out on patrol.

"I think we can just spend a bit more time with them, because obviously we've been spending quite a lot of time and resource on pensions.

"It's about spending time training our Reps on policy. Just how to be a Rep. I'm currently in the process of going around every site and I just want to get around, communicating with people really," he said.

"Meeting people face to face and picking up what their concerns are, what their thoughts are on the Federation and the force."

Gary has also backed the new 2.5% police pay rise for police officers for 2019/20 recently announced by the Home Office. CNC officers enjoy pay parity with Home Office colleagues.

Gary added: "It's good news but there's always a butů and this one is that we're still under inflation. If we'd had a consistent 2.5% over the last few years it would have been fine, but what did we get last year? A 1% rise and a 1% bonus payment."

Gary concluded: "I'm enjoying the challenge of the temporary role so far - members just want to hear from us, and they are full of questions when I visit them. Hopefully they think the Federation is doing a good job, let's keep the line of communication open."