The Defence Police Federation has condemned the MoD’s refusal to allow civilian Ministry of Defence Police officers to retire at 60 in line with Home Office constabularies – even if they partly meet costs of doing so themselves.
The MoD has announced it is to change the retirement age of its police officers to 65 in an effort to correct an error in legislation passed in 2013 that left officers expected to provide armed guarding for vital defence assets until the age of 67. The MoD Police was mistakenly excluded from the Public Service Pensions Act in 2013, which confirmed a retirement age of 60 for uniformed services including Home Office constabularies and the Armed Forces.
The Federation had proposed a solution under which the MoD would meet the cost of a pension age of 65, with officers then allowed to make additional payment contributions to enable them to retire at 60. The MoD has confirmed it will lower the retirement age to three years below the State Pension Age, but refused officers the opportunity to retire at 60.
The Federation has claimed officers could lose up to a quarter of their pension if they choose or are forced to retire at 60. It has also attacked the MoD for failing to address the situation for more than two years, with the announcement made days before officers are transferred to a new civil service pensions scheme.
Eamon Keating, National Chairman of the Defence Police Federation, said:
“The MoD’s logic is just ludicrous. They’ve accepted our retirement age is wrong. But they’ve only done the bare minimum to address the situation and refused an option that would allow officers to retire at 60 at no cost to the public purse.
“It is simply unacceptable that the MoD is expecting officers to work in a physically demanding environment for nearly 50 years, and then penalise those who want or need to retire early. They are putting the wellbeing of officers at risk with a flawed and incomprehensible decision that comes after more than two years of dithering.”
Shadow Defence Minister Gemma Doyle said:
“Negotiations have been ongoing regarding the National Pension Age for both organisations for almost two years, leaving officers uncertain about their future arrangements and yet the Ministry of Defence decided to rush out a decision one week before the end of Parliament.
We have been working with representatives from both organisations throughout the negotiations period, and if elected, we are committed to working with them in the future. Immediately following the election we will convene an emergency meeting with the Defence Police Federation and representatives from the Defence Fire and Rescue Service to discuss how best to move forwards.”