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Police: Retirement

Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 8 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average age of retirement was for police officers in England retiring in the last 12 months; and what average pension is being paid to those officers. (174719)

An average retirement age cannot be separately identified from the available data. The available data are the age on leaving the service within the following time bands only: 25 and under, 26 to 40, 41 to 55 and over 55. Information about the average pension being paid to officers retiring in a particular year is not held centrally. The size of an officer’s annual pension depends largely on his or her pensionable pay, and length of pensionable service. Under the Police Pension Scheme 1987, a lump sum is not paid out automatically but only where the officer chooses to convert (commute) part of his or her pension into a lump sum. The size of a lump sum therefore depends on the officer’s annual pension, the proportion of pension that the officer chooses to commute, and the commutation factor to be applied to the surrendered portion of pension in order to convert it into a lump sum. A typical officer, retiring after 30 years’ service on a final pensionable pay of £34,080 (the 2006-07 pensionable maximum for an officer of constable rank outside London), would be entitled to a pension of £17,040 per annum and a lump sum of £85,200, based on the officer commuting the maximum possible proportion of his or her pension, and using the most substantial factor. Based on the available data, the indications are that the average pre-commutation pension would be in the region of £21,500.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers were (a) offered early retirement schemes and (b) accepted early retirement schemes in each of the last 10 years. (175057)

A police officer who is a member of the Police Pension Scheme 1987 is entitled to retire with an ordinary pension after 25 years' service, payable from the age of 50. An officer who is a member of the 1987 scheme can also retire with a full and immediate pension at any age once he or she has accrued 30 years' service. The earliest age from which this would normally be possible is 48½, given the minimum entry age of 18½ for the police service. Unless an officer becomes permanently disabled for police duty, and is required to retire on ill health grounds, there is no specific early retirement scheme. In order to qualify for an ordinary pension, officers must in all cases, however, provide the police authority with one month's notice of their intention to retire, or three months in the case of chief officer ranks, although it is at the discretion of the police authority to accept a shorter notice period. As it is a matter for local discretion, there are no centrally held data on its frequency of use.