"The Civil Nuclear Constabulary is losing skilled and experienced firearms officers… as the reality of a high retirement age hits home. And that's a risk to our country"
The Civil Nuclear Police Federation is working hard to get our member's pension age reduced. But Chief Executive Nigel Dennis warns that until this happens the force will continue to lose officers. And outlines the associated risks that will bring.
Our members protect and deter. And provide a great service to the UK nuclear industry and to the nation.
For that to continue we need skilled, experienced and motivated police officers.
But they continue to be treated unfairly when it comes to their pension age. And as a result we are losing experienced police officers to other forces.
This is a significant security and safety risk to the UK.
That's why we continue to campaign on police pensions.
Let's remind where we are.
In February we met with Richard Harrington MP, from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to discuss the reality of there being a 67/68-year-old retirement age for our members.
The Minister agreed to contact the Treasury about the issue which I think at the time was a big step forward in our campaign to achieve a fair pension age for us all.
Our rationale, backed by scientific evidence, is that it's unlikely that our members will be able to achieve the standards required at that age when it comes to eyesight, hearing and fitness for firearms officers.
The security of this country will be put at risk if the Government forces Civil Nuclear Constabulary officers to work until the same time as the rest of public sector - until they are 67, 68 or beyond.
That is the reality - and politicians need to take note.
In my last update I said that Mr Harrington had agreed to write what they call "a letter of comfort" to the Chancellor and to the Cabinet Office saying that it's not acceptable for our officers to have a retirement age of 67-68.
That letter has gone to HM Treasury and to the Cabinet Office and we're waiting on that response.
I think it's very positive as it's the first time the issue has been aired outside of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Plus, we're getting traction from MPs whose constituencies we have a CNC presence in to talk to Mr Harrington too.
In the meantime - to be frank - this high retirement age is leading to staff retention problems.
It's an attractive job working for the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, but recruits are understandably looking ahead and saying to themselves am I going to be able to pass the fitness test in my 60s?
Am I going to ensure I retain my skill at arms qualification?
They fear they won't be able to and naturally they must think about these things before taking on - or continuing - with a role.
It's a straightforward choice for potential and existing CNC officers. Sadly some are going to other police forces - the Lincolnshires, the Kents, the Merseysides and Lancashires of this world - because they can see they can retire there at 55 or 60 at worst.
It's challenging for those of us who are left behind, it's like filling a bath with no plug.
The risk is that the Civil Nuclear Police ultimately isn't sustainable. And without going into too many details, it means we can't deliver on what we need to.
And with the security implications that brings.
If we don't have the officers, then frankly it becomes a Government issue.
But positively we, the Police Authority and the Chief Officer Team are all on the same page on this.
We're all pushing the Government to make the right decision.
They now need to stop talking about it and to do the right thing.