Ministry of Defence Police officers particularly females, are being urged to come forward and take part in the fitness study as part of the Defence Police Federation’s pensions campaign.
The Federation needs more volunteers to get involved in the Loughborough University study, which they believe will help provide important evidence in their battle for pension reform.
Mitch Batt the DPF General Secretary says the DPF and the Force hopes to arrange a women-only day which will include the fitness test, but needs female colleagues to engage and take part. He said “I would like our female members to let us know whether this maybe something of benefit to them.”
“We’re looking to run a women-only day for the fitness tests because we know that some have expressed concerns about doing it alongside their male colleagues,” he said.
“We’re talking to the Force about that at the moment and hopefully, we’ll be able to run something where we get as many women as we can to attend, hold a gender day, where they’ll be able to discuss a variety of issues, and run the fitness test for the study.”
MOD Police Officers are currently excluded from uniform section of The Public Service Pensions Act 2013 which gives uniformed Police and the Armed Forces a retirement age of 60 years.
It means DPF members can only retire at the state pension age, raising concerns about their ability to carry the weapons and kit required of the dangerous role they’ll carry out, potentially until aged 67.
The Federation has turned to scientists at the university to examine whether officers will be able to meet the fitness standards expected as they age.
“We need our female members to come forward,” Mitch said. “if we are to have any chance of adjusting our pension age to match that of every other police officer in the country we need them to get involved, because at the moment we are more or less in a position to go to Government with the empirical data on men and the argument would be sound.
But we haven’t got that data for our female colleagues, we’ve extended the Loughborough University contract, at some significant cost to enable us to get our female officers involved.”
It’s a very simple fitness test, Mitch added, and volunteers don’t have to worry about reaching any set standards.
“All we need them to do is to turn up and run the test. So please get involved, as potentially one day of your time, could reduce your pension age by 7 years.”
If there is anything we can do to encourage officers to get involved, please let us know because this is the most important issue the Federation has taken on in living memory and it needs to be conclusive.
Be under no illusion, the Government will look to test the pension age again, soon, and that will affect everyone, unless we can show real medical evidence to the contrary.
For that we need your help.