Today saw the 9th annual National Police Memorial Day which saw a Police Memorial Service at York Minster, dedicated to the memory ofÂ the 4,000 police officers who have died on duty in the last 100 years.
I heard about it, after the fact, on the BBC News this evening.
Strangely, I didn’t hear one word about it, in the weeks leading up to it, from my force. No posters on the walls at HQ, noÂ mentions on the weekly orders that get out by the chief giving useful information to all the employees of the force, no emails, nothing, bugger all.
I do see posters, get emails and read on the weekly bulletin about Black History Month, Traveller Engagement Week, news and invites to attend any one of a number of Gay Pride events.
Twenty-six year old Lukasz WisniewskiÂ of Leeds has just been banned for 12 months and ordered to do 200 hours community service after pulling a wheelie on his motorbike as he drove past a mobile speed camera can in Selby, North Yorkshre, at 103mph, whilst overtaking other vehicles.
I bet he thinks what a great idea that was back in June. He was either incredibly unlucky to be pulling a wheelie at high speed at exactly the moment he passed a speed camera van, or just thick; it’s not as if speed cameras are highly disguised. Still, I expect he’s got plenty of time to consider his motorcycling prowess, as he sits on public buses for a the next year.
It started with an attempt to write a post every day for a month, this turned into 3 months and then six months. After I’d managed to post every single day for half a year I thought why not go on for a whole year? So I did.
That has turned into a post every single day for five years. I sometimes feel like Forest Gump who took up an idea and just ran with it, and kept on running.
To say this blog has formed a large part of my life is an understatement. Sometimes it’s been fun, interesting, though-provoking, other times it’s been like a millstone around my neck.
When you work a full shift system, have a family and private life and other interests, just finding the time to research, compose and post something is no mean feat. You’ll have noticed when I didn’t have time as that’s when I post up a quick video.
I’m quite proud of the fact that this is, if not the, certainly one of the longest running police blogs in existence, a few weeks over seven years. I’m not quite ready to give up the blog, so I’ll continue to post, but only when I have the time and inclination. I have no idea how frequently that will be, we’ll just have to see.
To all my readers, regular and otherwise, thanks for checking by and thanks for all your support and words of comment and encouragement over the last seven years.
of pensions, as we are this week, I found this doing the rounds of Facebook. Copied with permission of the writer who suggests sending something similar to your own MP.
Ed Balls MP,
I am writing to you in relation to the Home Secretary Theresa Mayâ€™s changes that will be made to the Police Pension Scheme 1987. (PPS). The changes are due to be made in 2015.
When I joined this scheme in 2004 I was told that it could not be changed by the Government and I received a booklet which I still have that did not state that the pension could be changed. I signed up to the scheme because of these reasons and due to the fact that I knew I would be able to retire at 55 years old, receive a lump sum and a pension when paying 11% of my salary. I have received yearly statements outlying what I will receive when I retire in 2033. Nowhere on this statement did it say it was subject to change by the Government.
It was confirmed to me that it could not be changed when in 2006 when the Government of the day brought in the New Police Pension Scheme (NPPS) Where members pay 9.5% in and have to work for 35 years. There was an option to stay in the 1987 PPS scheme or change to the NPPS scheme. I chose to remain with the PPS scheme. This year in 2012 due to the Governments financial hardships caused by poor ongoing Government management of the United Kingdomâ€™s finances my pension payments were increased to 12.25% and this is to rise even further in the coming years, I understood this as people are living longer and I agreed I should pay slightly more to finance this.
The pension I signed up for has been changed which is not recogniseable from what I signed up for and the main points of this are listed as below:
â€¢ The pension I signed up for is the exact same as what every Police officer signed up for before 2006. The changes state that I will not get the pension I expected but those over 38 years old and with less than 10 years to do will get the full pension. I am being discriminated against because of my age / level of service and believe I could have a case under The Equality Act 2010,
â€¢ I believe I also have a case under S2 of the Police pensions Regulations which states I have the right to a stable pension.
â€¢ If my pension could be changed at any time why was I never informed of this and why wasnâ€™t it changed in 2006? I could have easily made the decision then to opt out or stay in the pension scheme knowing what I would receive and knowing that there could be future changes by the Government.
â€¢ The pension I signed up for was Mis-sold to me as I was not made aware of the full facts. I was given an illustration presentation of what I would receive when I retire, they never stated that that was subject to drastic changes
â€¢ The last pension statement I received from October 2011 stated the benefits payable if I retired on the 29th of November 2033 – Â£15,516.91 per year with 106,032.10 lump sum (commutation). Without commutation it would be over Â£20,000 a year. Pensionable service would be 29 years, 163 days. I have put my figures in to the home office calculator and my projected pension on the same figures is Â£8,200 per year and this is with no lump sum. I pay more and get drastically less than I was told I would receive. I find it hard to believe that the Government can do this when an MP serving 15 years paying 11.9% is entitled to Â£22,500 a year. An MPâ€™S pension will not be slashed in half with the lump sum removed.
The Home Secretary Theresa May has unnecessarily attacked my pension. It will in no way assist the United Kingdomâ€™s finances with the current deficit as Police Officers retiring in the next 10 years will still get their full pensions. If anything it will damage the economy further as people will opt out of being in the pension all together so retired Officers pensions will have to be paid for by the state alone.
Over the 8 years I have worked in the Police I have seen things that no normal member of the public should ever have to see, been assaulted, injured, I have no rights like the right to strike, I am restricted as to where I can live, I canâ€™t refuse to work if I am told that I am working over then I am. I canâ€™t ignore an incident and just walk away when off duty, I can be brethalysed at any time at work with limits way below the drink drive limit and can be subjected to drug testing. I put my life, physical and mental wellbeing at risk every day to be treated with utter contempt by the Government and Teresa May
What I want is one of 2 things. For my pension to remain as it was and I will get what I am entitled to or all the money I paid into the scheme over the past 8 years returning to me with interest so I can invest my money elsewhere knowing the full facts.
I have also sent a copy of this letter to the Pensions Ombudsman.
I am writing to you as I feel the Government is causing a maladministration as promises have been broken in respect to the pension I signed up for, I was not made aware of the full facts at the time and they are trying to change Section 2 of the Police Pensions regulations so they can do as they wish.
After the job refused to give me any holiday this summer, meaning my family will have to wait two years for their annual holiday, and they declined to allow me any time off to have a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Olympics in my own country, I actually managed to get down to the Paralympics (on a rest day, so up yours everyone in the offices who decline others’ leave but spookily managed to get their own summer holiday to a man, and woman). Bitter, much?
And what an experience it was. A fantastic day of sport. A day filled with awe, respect, humour, emotion, the works.
The sound of 80,000 people all screaming at once is one that won’t leave me for some time. And it all ran so smoothly, the transport was great, lots of people to point you in the right direction. The soldiers on the security gates were friendly, the volunteers were all friendly and helpful. The toilets were clean with no queues.
And the sport was top notch.
I’ll say one thing for this country, well two, can;t run a police force but can put on a wonderful sports event.
The trouble no is that I only have 4 years to save up for Brasil, and I probably won’t get the time off even if I can, if I’m still here.
85% of the Police Federation of England and Wales members are Constables.
As your Constables Committee we have a clear duty to ensure our voice is heard. This means managing politics at the top and ensuring the clear leadership we are mandated to deliver is delivered affectively.
Our Members are angry about pensions and the apparent final nature of negotiations which in turn has magnified calls for the Federation to get on with the promised ballot on full industrial rights.
We hear you and we are listening â€“ this is why we need to urgently engage more.
It has long been a point of contention that existing protocols mean we on the national Constables Committee do not have access to the contact details of the people we represent â€“ a protocol dating back to 1919.
But this is not 1919. In 2012, the Office of Constable has been eroded, and is teetering on the cusp of total destruction, falling in status and respect still further.
The time for niceties and archaic protocols are over.
We need urgently to communicate directly with the 103,000 Constables of the Police Federation of England and Wales so we can make important and lasting decisions together and deliver those policies in the interests of efficiency, welfare and conditions.
It is as important now to work with our regional Branch Boards as it has ever been â€“ but there is growing criticism and concern among our Membership about the inability to communicate directly with Constables. This is plainly ridiculous and cannot continue.
This is why we are asking you to register at www.policeconstables.org , in doing so we are able to capture your details, enabling us to contact you directly as well as giving you a free forum to share views.
Many major decisions will need to be made over the coming days, weeks and months â€“ We want to involve every Police Constable in England and Wales in this.
This is a call to arms, circulate this and discuss it with your colleagues.
From the Chairman’s Office of the Constables of England and Wales.
…than sign a petition of no confidence in the Police Federation.
One of the constants among police officers is how the Federation are a bunch of toothless tigers who appear to stand up to the government with a vigour inversely proportionate to that needed to attend the annual conference and get all the relevent expenses.
So the decision on police pension reform is out today.
From April 2015, the pension contributions rise from 11% for old pension members and 9% for the newer scheme which came in around 2006, to 13.7%, a rise of between nearly 3 and 5%.
The final pension will be based onÂ ‘career average’ rather than a ‘final salary’ earnings.
The normal pension age will be 60 but officers aged 55 will no be able to draw their full pension amount until they reach that age. The two reports I read today don’t make it clear how long an officer must serve to get the full pension. It used to be 30 years but rose to 35 in 2006.
I’ve been saying for years that one of the biggest reasons this country is in such a shite state is because people do not fear consequences.
When I was growing up, I was taught that whatever I did had consequences. If I did something wrong, not only would I meet those consequences from my parents, I would also meet consequences from my neighbours, or anyone else with a vested interest in a peaceful and stress free life. It was the old saying along the lines of it takes a woman to have a child but a village to raise it.
These days, there are no consequences, therefore a certain section of society feel it is their right to do whatever the hell the please, whether that is keeping their neighbours awake at night with loud music and parties, helping themselves to anything they don’t want to save up for, or breaking into someone’s house and stealing what they themselves wouldn’t have the ethics to obtain legally.
Consequences don’t have to be massive or life-changing. A simple ‘please don’t do that’ might have the desired effect, if told young enough and often enough. Other consequences might include having personal items removed, being fined, or even being punched in the mouth.
If burglars thought that one of the consequences of breaking into someo0ne’s house in the middle of the night might include being shot, I’d guess there might be many fewer burglars.