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GMP Federation

Back down on £420m pension bill or face legal action, NPCC tells Government

1 November 2018

 

Police chiefs in England and Wales are to take legal action against the Government unless it backs down on plans to deduct hundreds of millions of pounds from their budgets, The Guardian has reported.

It says The National Police Chiefs Council has sent a formal letter to the Treasury saying it will seek a judicial review of the Government’s proposals.

Forces will have to find an extra £417m in just two years’ time to pay for an increased minimum contribution to officers’ pension pots.

That figure is to rise from 2% to 3% by 2019 and equates to funding around 10,000 officers a year.

It comes on top of a 19% cut in police funding since 2010.

The PFEW has also announced plans to launch legal proceedings against the Home Secretary over how this year’s pay award for officers was handled.

Meanwhile, the Government’s Autumn Budget failed to find funds for frontline policing with more being allocated to pothole repairs, despite a recent Home Affairs Select Committee report saying forces were on a financial cliff edge.

The Guardian says the NPCC has already hired a barrister to seek a judicial order forcing the Government to reverse its plans.

Police chiefs say cuts have left forces struggling to protect the public, with some saying a further loss of budget will leave officer numbers equivalent to what they were in the 1970s.

An NPCC spokesman told the paper: “We have raised concerns about proposed pension changes affecting police force contributions with the Treasury and informed them of our intention to legally challenge the proposal if it goes ahead.”

One chief constable is reported as saying: “The letter has gone to the Treasury and the chiefs are very perplexed as to why they would want to take this money off us.”

The PFEW yesterday criticised the chancellor’s award of £420m to deal with potholes, roughly the same amount he had declined to give police forces to solve their extra pensions payments.

An extra £160m was allocated for counter-terrorism policing.

Labour MP and Shadow Policing Minister told The Guardian that the Government’s relationship with policing was ‘in tatters’.

“It is unprecedented that police chiefs are now being forced to take legal action against Ministers,” she said.

“Forcing the police at the last minute to bear the huge cost of pension changes demonstrates the utter failure of Ministers to grasp the crisis in policing caused by their cuts.

“They have played fast and loose with public safety and the police are right to step up and take action.”

Senior Chief Constables have warned that the pensions bill would leave them with ‘no option’ other than cutting officer numbers.

Dave Thompson, West Midlands Chief Constable, said: “We are struggling to deliver a service to the public. I think criminals are well aware now how stretched we are. These further cuts will leave us smaller than we have ever been. There is unquestionably more demand than there was in 1974.”

Home Secretary Sajid Javid will address police chiefs at the NPCC annual conference this week.

Last week, the Home Office said: “We are working closely with forces to understand the impact this change will have and are in discussions with police leaders about mitigating the impact on the frontline.

“The Government is committed to continuing to ensure that the police have the resources they need to do their vital work, and the Home Secretary has been clear that he will prioritise police funding at the next spending review.”

For more, visit https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/30/police-threaten-tories-with-legal-action-over-forces-budget-cuts

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November 2018
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