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06-04-06, 11:20 AM #1
Police heroes to have thousands of pounds cut from pensions
Police officers forced to quit after being injured in the line of duty are to have their pensions cut by thousands of pounds a year.
More than 20 forces - around half the total in England and Wales - are planning to save money by slashing huge amounts from the pension entitlement of injured officers when they reach retirement age.
Some forces have already changed the rules while others are looking at ways of doing so.
The cuts will cost some officers more than £15,000 a year and one policeman, who risked his life to arrest the notorious killer known as the Black Panther in 1975, last night attacked the move as 'disgraceful'.
The pension changes follow Home Office guidelines on 'standardising' awards and will affect injured officers when they reach compulsory retirement age, which ranges from 55 to 65 depending on force and rank.
Until now, officers injured in the line of duty received a standard pension when they retired - plus an additional payment to compensate them for their injuries. These extra awards were calculated according to their previous salary, and were often worth thousands of pounds a year.
However, the new Home Office rules mean that the injury awards are calculated in line with national average earnings - meaning big reductions for most claimants.
According to information obtained by the Police Federation under the Freedom of Information Act, 21 forces including the Metropolitan Police, Avon & Somerset, Cambridgeshire, Nottinghamshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Gwent are reviewing their pension policies.
Duncan Davies of Derbyshire Police Federation said: 'This ties in with Government measures to save money. The majority of forces are looking at this at the moment.
'Officers are told they are going to be compensated for a long period of time and then suddenly that compensation is removed. It can have serious effects on their standard of living.'
Stuart Mackenzie, 59, had his hearing damaged when a shotgun went off during the arrest of multiple murderer Donald Neilson, dubbed the Black Panther, 31 years ago.
Mr Mackenzie, who lives in Nuthall, Nottinghamshire, with his wife Marion, 54, won the Queen's Award for Bravery but in 1995 his hearing had deteriorated so badly that he was retired on medical grounds and given an injury award, along with his police pension. He now fears he may have to leave his home because of possible cuts to the £750-a-month injury award he receives as part of his £1,600-a-month pension.
He said: 'I was recalled in March this year for a review of my injuries. There was simply no warning that this was going to happen at all. We were all under the impression when we were given these awards that they were for life. There are many police who will find themselves far worse off than me.
'I think it's disgraceful - it is a kick in the teeth. It's not as if we're asking for anything we don't deserve. I did my job and I got hurt doing my job.
'If one force does this, everybody will jump on the bandwagon. It's morally and ethically wrong.'
He added: 'Until I am notified about the result of the review I have no idea what will happen, or when. We paid into this scheme and we deserve the money that was awarded.'
Another former Nottinghamshire policeman, Kevin Pearce, 54, who had to retire early as an inspector after injuring his back chasing a burglar, is mounting a legal challenge to the Government after being told he will lose £9,000 a year from his pension.
He said: 'When officers go into dangerous situations they'll be thinking, "What's going to happen to me if I'm injured? Will I be able to look after myself and my family if they take my pension away?" '
Rank-and-file officers say the scheme is being applied unfairly and without enough attention being paid to the needs of individual claimants.
Jan Berry of the Police Federation said: 'In the past, forces rarely reassessed pension awards. Now many of them are doing it. These decisions should be based on sound clinical judgment rather than a cost-cutting assessment. 'Some forces are carrying out these reviews indiscriminately and with a lack of sensitivity, causing real hardship in many cases.'
06-04-06, 11:29 AM #2FishTail Guest
Oh yeah, time to sue their asses.
06-04-06, 12:03 PM #3GrasshopperVerified LEO
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Hmmm. So, anyone for a little picketing or perhaps a walk off?
06-04-06, 12:04 PM #4FishTail Guest
You mean a strike? It's illegal for us to strike.
06-04-06, 12:18 PM #5GrasshopperVerified LEO
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No one said strike. Did I say strike? No striking here. Just a lot of sick days being used. Maybe its the flu?
06-04-06, 01:37 PM #6
Yeah i can feel a couh coming on.
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