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West Midlands Police Federation

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Chair argues for ‘honourable solution’ in pensions row

10 July 2019

West Midlands Police Federation chair Rich Cooke has repeated calls for officers to be returned to the original pension schemes they joined calling it the ‘only honourable solution’ in the current pensions row.
 
Rich was with Federation officials and representatives at a two-day meeting of the Federation’s National Council meeting in Birmingham this week at which it was agreed to issue a ‘collective statement’ on pensions.
 
While setting out the national Federation’s stance, the statement also reiterated that the Police Federation of England and Wales would not pay the private legal fees for the ‘Pension Challenge’ which many members affected by the pension changes had signed up to.
 
Rich said afterwards: “While there is much positive and that I can agree with within the collective statement, I cannot support the position taken on legal fees in particular. I believe this should be left on the table and no member, in principle, should be left out of pocket. Money is tighter now, but surely we should wait to see and try our best to help our members who feel let down, if that becomes possible?”
 
And he continued: “I want to see proactive measures taken by the national Federation, starting today, to try to create a political impetus for returning officers to their original schemes as the only honourable solution.
 
“I will continue to fight for the decision of the Supreme Court to be treated as the opportunity it is, rather than seen as a problem to be managed or made the best of.
 
He continued: “Others in our board will take a different view, but this is mine, as your directly-elected chair and from speaking with many members I think they deserve no less from me.”
 
The Federation statement says the importance of fair and just pensions for police officers who sacrifice so much during their working careers to serve and protect the public cannot be understated and does not rule out making a legal challenge on behalf of all police officers if necessary.
 
It also stresses the Federation stance has always been that police officers should have stayed in the pension schemes they signed up to, or better, and that remains the case.
 
The statement explains: “Much has been said to the Police Federation of England and Wales, and to local Federations across the country, since the Supreme Court ruled there could be no appeal by the Government on the judges’ and firefighters’ pension discrimination ruling. We are listening to you. We are listening to your representatives.”
 
And it continues: “Once the Government proposes a remedy – which is likely to be a protracted process and potentially affect all public sector pensions - if it becomes necessary for us to mount a legal challenge on behalf of all police officers in England and Wales then we stand ready to do so. It may be that no one has to submit claims.”
 
The statement concludes: “There has been much discussion over what has gone before but we now need to move forward collectively. Not just as a Police Federation but as proud police officers. A collective and non-fragmented voice has the ability to be very powerful and to get the best terms and conditions it can for officers across the country.”
 
Read the full statement.
 
The Federation has also issued an updated pensions FAQs paper for members.