Police must pay more for pensions

Police officers will have to pay an average of an extra £1,000 a year into their pension under Government plans.

More senior officers, such as mid-range superintendents, face an increase of £2,800 a year while new constables face paying £349 more as annual police pension contributions rise between 1.5% and 4%, depending on rank.

In a letter to the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers in England and Wales, Home Secretary Theresa May said there needs to be a "fairer balance between what employees pay and what other taxpayers contribute towards a public service pension".

"Although this will mean that most officers will pay more into their police pension, most can also expect to live longer in retirement than previous generations," Mrs May wrote.

She added that the police pension scheme "remains very attractive compared with pension provisions available in the private sector".

The move means officers who currently pay 9.5% of their salary into their police pension will pay 11% from 2014/15, while this will rise to 15% for those currently paying 11%.

Anger has been building in frontline policing since former rail regulator Tom Winsor said the most wide-ranging analysis of forces pay in 30 years showed more than £1 billion of savings should be made.

Ian Rennie, of the federation, said the Police Negotiating Board (PNB) was continuing "to do everything within our means to ensure that the value of police officers' pensions continue to reflect the difficult job that we do to protect the public on a day-to-day basis".

More than 2,000 off-duty rank-and-file officers marked their anger at the Government as part of a day of action in Westminster last month amid claims that the 20% cut to overall police budgets could lead to more crime.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said there is a need for major change regardless of economic challenges.

But a report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found crime rates could jump as one in 10 police officers is axed under Government spending cuts.

About 16,200 police officers will be axed by 2015 amid warnings that crime could rise by 3%, the HMIC inquiry found.

A Home Office spokesman said: "Workers across the public sector are facing pension changes as the Government seeks to make them fair to both staff and taxpayers and to tackle the record public deficit we face.

"The police cannot be exempt from this process and our proposals for changes will now go forward for discussion with staff associations through the police negotiating machinery."