Police Federation Police Benefits Portal Financial Advice

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The amount of your retirement benefits and the date on which they become payable will depend on your age, final pensionable pay and length of pensionable service

Retirement age

If you have 25 years' pensionable service, you can retire with an ordinary pension paid immediately on retirement once you reach age 50. If you have 30 years' pensionable service, you may retire with an immediate pension before age 50.

Short service pensions are paid immediately if you retire with less than 25 years' service at what would have been the compulsory retirement age for your rank before the following new compulsory retirement ages were introduced on 1 October 2006.

From 1 October 2006, compulsory retirement ages are as follows:

  • for a constable, sergeant. inspector or chief inspector, 60 years.
  • for an officer with any higher rank, 65 years.
  • These ages apply to all forces: there are no longer separate compulsory retirement ages for the Metropolitan Police.

    You will not be disadvantaged by these new arrangements if you choose to retire as you expected to at your compulsory retirement age as it was before October 2006.

    Appointments to chief constable and deputy chief constable are for a fixed term. If you have been appointed for a fixed term which ends before you reach the age of 55, and your service does end before you reach age 55, you will be entitled to a deferred pension payable at age 60.

    If you have completed 30 years' pensionable service in PPS (or would have been able to if you had not opted out of PPS), your police authority may require you to retire on the grounds that your retention in the force would not be in the general interests of efficiency.

    If you become permanently disabled at any age for the performance of the ordinary duties of a member of the force, your police authority may require you to retire on the grounds of ill-health.

    Average pensionable pay

    Your pension benefits are calculated based on your average pensionable pay, which is normally your pensionable pay for your final 12 months of service. If your pensionable pay in one of the preceding two years was higher, then this will be used instead.

    Example 1

    Alex retires at the end of 2007. He was given temporary promotion in 2006. His pensionable pay in the three years prior to his retirement has been:

  • 2005 - 37,000
  • 2006 - 45,000
  • 2007 - 40,000
  • His average pensionable pay, for calculating his pension, will be his 2006 pay.

    Average pensionable pay is always taken to be full-time pay, even if you work part-time. If you work half-time for a year, for example, your final pensionable pay for that year is the full-time rate (but you will only be able to count a half year's pensionable service).

    Pensionable service

    This is the service that counts in the calculation of your pension. This includes:-

  • your current service as a regular police officer during which you have paid pension contributions or for which contributions are deemed to have been paid (e.g. any unpaid period in the first 26 weeks of maternity leave).
  • earlier service in the same force, or in other Home Office police forces (again, provided that you paid pension contributions in your earlier service and that these have not been refunded to you).
  • earlier service with a Scottish force or the Police Service of Northern Ireland, if you transferred with consent and you paid pension contributions which have not been refunded to you.
  • periods of 'relevant service' under section 97 of the Police Act 1996 (this includes appointments to the Inspectorate of Constabulary and certain types of overseas service) during which you have paid pension contributions. (Officers contemplating overseas service are recommended to seek advice on the pension position before agreeing to undertake it.)
  • If you have pension benefits in the scheme of a former employer or in a personal pension plan you may be able to transfer them into PPS. The transfer value will buy a credit of pensionable service in PPS. Your police authority has discretion to refuse a transfer if it is deemed to be insufficient to cover the cost of any Guaranteed Minimum Pension to which you may be entitled (if you had been employed in the period 1978 - 1997).

    Part-time working and pensionable service

    Approved part-time working is counted as pensionable service on a pro-rata basis based on actual hours worked as a proportion of full-time work. Your pension contributions are also collected on a pro-rata basis (i.e. 11% of the part-time pay).

    Example 2

    Bethan's full-time pensionable pay would be 30,000 but she is working half-time. She therefore receives 15,000 salary and pays pension contributions, at 11% of that, of 1,650. Each year that she serves half-time and pays pension contributions adds half a year to her pensionable service.

    Benefits on retirement

    You will receive a pension for life plus, if you choose to commute part of it, a tax-free lump sum.

    Your police pension is based on 1⁄60th of your average pensionable pay for each year of pensionable service up to 20 years, and 2⁄60ths of your average pensionable pay for each year over 20 years, up to a maximum of 40⁄60ths. For example, 25 years’ service gives 30⁄60ths. Each day counts as 1⁄365th of a year. The maximum length of pensionable service that can count towards a PPS pension is 30 years.

    You can exchange (‘commute’) part of your pension for a tax-free lump sum.

    Ordinary pension

    An ordinary pension is awarded immediately on retirement after completion of at least 25 years’ pensionable service. If you have 25 years’ pensionable service, you may retire on an ordinary pension paid immediately on retirement if aged 50 or over. However, if you have 30 years’ pensionable service, you may retire with an immediate pension before age 50.

    Example 3

    Chris’s average pensionable pay is £30,000 and his pensionable service is 20 years at 1⁄60th each and 5 years at 2⁄60th each.

    His pension = £30,000 x 30 = £15,000 per year (index linked after the first year so long as C is over 55) 60

    Short service pension

    A short service pension is payable immediately after completion of at least two but less than 25 years’ pensionable service if you retire at what would have been the compulsory retirement age for your rank before the new compulsory retirement ages were introduced on 1 October 2006. It is calculated in a similar way to an ordinary pension.

    If you were allowed to postpone your date of retirement beyond the compulsory retirement age for your rank, and you decide to leave voluntarily before you reach your new compulsory retirement date, then if you have at least two but less than 25 years' service you will qualify for a deferred pension payable at age 60. You will not be entitled to a short service pension, which would have been payable if you had completed your extension of service .

    Pension after part-time work

    Approved part-time working counts as pensionable service on a pro-rata basis. However, your average pensionable pay is based on the full-time equivalent of what you earn.

    Example 4

    Daniela is a part-time officer who has worked half-time for the full 30 years, i.e. with 15 years' pensionable service. She can retire with an immediate pension on reaching age 50.

    Her average pensionable pay is £30,000.

    A full-time officer’s pension in these circumstances would be:

    40/60 x £30,000 = £20,000

    D’s pension, to reflect her part-time service, is the appropriate proportion of this, i.e.:

    £20,000 x 15 = £10,000 per year (index linked after the first year from 55)

    Deferred pension

    You are entitled to a deferred pension if you have at least two years to count towards qualifying service, and you either:

  • leave the police, or
  • cease to be a member of PPS by opting out of it,
  • without transferring your PPS rights to another pension scheme.

    The deferred pension will be a proportion of your hypothetical pension – i.e. the pension you would have earned by the age of compulsory retirement, subject to the limit of the maximum ordinary pension.

    The size of your deferred pension will be the same proportion of your hypothetical pension as your actual pensionable service is of your hypothetical service – i.e. the pensionable service you would have accrued by the time of your compulsory retirement age, subject to a limit of maximum pension.

    A deferred pension is payable from age 60. It may be paid earlier if you become permanently disabled from performing the ordinary duties of a police officer.

    If you leave before the age of 50 with at least 25 years service, then your deferred pension will be paid from age 50

    Example 5

    Ewan, with the rank of constable, leaves PPS after 10 years' service at age 40 with average pensionable pay of £30,000. He could have left at age 55 with an immediate pension, by which time he would have accrued 25 years' service – his hypothetical service – which would have given 30/60ths (as in Example 3 above).

    Ewan’s officer's hypothetical pension would be:

  • £30,000 x 30 = £15,000
  • His deferred pension would be:

  • £15,000 x 10 = £6,000
  • Refund of contributions on leaving the service

    If you leave the police service with less than two years' qualifying service without entitlement to any other PPS award, you can have your pension contributions returned to you, less deduction of tax and a deduction to contract you back in to the State Second Pension (like any leaver with at least 3 months’ service you can, alternatively, ask for your PPS benefits to be transferred to another pension scheme). You should note that a refund of contributions will only be of the contributions that you have paid, but a transfer value will reflect the total value of pension benefits which have been purchased both by your own contributions and those of your police authority.

    If you leave the service with less than two years’ qualifying service, then unless you are permanently disabled as the result of an injury received in the execution of duty your pension award will thus be a lump sum equal to your pension contributions.

    © Crown Copyright 2006
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