Security Risk, Legality and Fairness of CNC Police Officers' Retirement Age Being Discussed By Three Whitehall Departments
It's going to be a busy Summer for the Civil Nuclear Police Federation as the organisation continues to work tirelessly towards bringing members' retirement ages in line with officers in other police forces.
A number of consultations and meetings are in the pipeline between Federation leaders and Government officials over the anomaly - which currently sees CNC officers having to retire at state pension age - and the Federation is pleased that it is teaming up with the Force and the Police Authority over the issue.
This has led to ongoing meetings and consultation with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Cabinet Office and The Treasury over the CNC police officer retirement age. With more meetings in the pipeline.
However as part of this, the Federation has called for transparency from the BEIS over its Equality Analysis over a state retirement age for CNC police officers and for the department to share this report.
"The issue is about national security and the legality of the retirement age policy more than anything else," said Nigel Dennis, Chief Executive of the Civil Nuclear Police Federation (left).
"We really welcome the fact that the other departments concerned with changing the retirement policy are communicating with us and each other. I just hope we don't have to wait all summer for the meetings to happen.
"The police authority, ourselves and the chief officers are all aligned to get things changed and I hope the Government recognise our three-pronged approach and that we are all behind this."
Under new pension rules, firearms carrying CNC officers, who are bizarrely classed as civil servants, will only be able to retire on a full pension from the age of 67/68, whereas other police officers can retire from the age of 60
The Federation says that's unfair, is impacting on officer recruitment and retention and is putting the UK's security at risk. It also may be discriminatory and therefore in our view potentially illegal.
"It's been a busy few weeks and months and years highlighting this - and it will continue to be that way," said Mark Nelson, Chairman of the Federation.
For the transparency of the ongoing pension discussions, Mark said it would be 'helpful' if documents including a Equality Analysis carried out by BEIS were shared with them.
"BEIS Under Secretary Richard Harrington MP has this document and he has said to Parliament that he will take the summer to review it," he said.
"It's a document which would be helpful to see because we'd like to know how it might impact on our members. If we are having productive discussions, then we need to see everything that's on the table.
"We don't really know what will be in that document but presumably it will look at the impact of having be a CNC officer at the age of 67 and how that will impact on female and black and ethnic minority officers for instance.
"We'll be approaching the department about this and hopefully we'll get to see it and understand its impact."
As for the other departments, Nigel said he has been encouraged by correspondence he has received/seen from Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss and from Oliver Dowden, Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office.
"We've heard from the Treasury and from Oliver Dowden who is a cabinet minister in charge of public sector pensions," Nigel said.
"And they have both said they want their officials to meet with us to discuss the pension and retirement age issue. As always, the hard part is getting everyone in Westminster together at the right level.
"But it seems Ministers want it to happen, so that's enormously helpful."
Nigel added he was pleased the issue was now getting some traction and that recent communications from both departments had been positive.
"We have a letter from Oliver Dowden effectively saying our case has merit, so we see that as being positive - we've got the police authority, our chief officers and ourselves all working as one and the Government departments driving for their officials to meet with us, so yes, it feels like we are getting somewhere, we're getting some traction."