HL Deb 16 March 1965 vol 264 cc289-91

2.59 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that the Police Pensions (Amendment) Regulations, 1965, a draft of which was laid before your Lordships' House on February 24 last, be approved. These draft Regulations amend the Police Pensions Regulations, 1962, and they fall into three parts. Part 1 increases certain widows' and children's benefits payable under the Police Pensions Regulations by amounts corresponding to the increases in National Insurance benefits made by the National Insurance, Etc., Act, 1964. it is necessary to make this special provision because the police were excluded from the contributory old-age pensions scheme which existed before National insurance Schemes were introduced in 1948 and, as a result, some police widows and children are not entitled to those benefits. Police authorities are, therefore, given discretion to pay corresponding benefits under the Police Pensions Regulations.

The effect of Part I of the Regulations is to give these special classes of police widows and children increases corresponding to the National Insurance increases. Your Lordships will not wish me to quote all the figures, because they are incorporated in the draft Regulations, but as examples it may be helpful to mention that a widow will get £5 12s. 6d. instead of £4 15s. a week over and above her basic pension for the first 13 weeks of widowhood, and thereafter £4 instead of £3 7s. 6d. a week above her ordinary police pension; and the allowance payable in respect of a child where both parents are dead will be a maximum of 40s. instead of 37s. 6d. a week. These, your Lordships will agree, are desirable and acceptable amendments.

In Part II the amendments flow mainly from provisions of the Police Act, 1964. This Act provides that, with effect from April 1 next, a police authority, acting with the approval of the Secretary of State, may call upon a chief constable, deputy chief constable or assistant chief constable to retire in the interests of efficiency. The draft amending Regulations 8 and 9 ensure that an officer so required to retire will be entitled to an ordinary or short-service pension according to the length of his service. Regulation 10 ensures that he will be able to commute part of the pension for a lump sum. Regulation 13 excludes these officers from the existing provisions of the 1962 Regulations, which provide for the compulsory retirement in the interests of efficiency of police officers who have an entitlement to maximum pension. These provisions, of course, would otherwise overlap the provisions of the Police Act to which I have referred.

The Police Act also makes further provisions for schemes to be made amalgamating police areas. On or after April 1, amalgamation schemes will be coming into operation which may result in a chief constable losing his post, and orders may be made under the Local Government Act, 1958, making boundary changes affecting police areas and, of course, a chief constable's post. Regulation 14 inserts into the Police Pensions Regulations a new Regulation 74A to provide for chief constables who are affected by these schemes and orders. The new Regulation secures that a chief constable who loses office in this way shall be treated as having retired. If he joins another police force within a prescribed period, his service is to be treated as continuous for pension purposes. If he continues in the police service but suffers reduction in rank, the new Regulation provides that he shall be entitled to retain the age of compulsory retirement applicable to his former rank.

Special provision is made in the case of a chief constable losing office who was already a chief constable on July 1, 1964, when the provisions of the Police Act, 1964, relating to local government reorganisation and amalgamation schemes came into operation. The new Regulation 74A, read with the new sub-paragraph (e) added to Regulation 3(1) of the 1962 Regulations by Regulation 9, secures (believe it or not) that if he loses office as a member of a police force he shall, regardless of age, be entitled to an ordinary or short-service pension, according to the length of his service. Incidentally, the draft Regulations we are now considering make the sixth set of amendments to the 1962 regulations. I should explain that the rights of chief constables who are affected by local government reorganisation or a police amalgamation scheme will not be limited to those arising under the Police Pensions Regulations, as amended by these draft Regulations. It is intended that compensation regulations will be made under the Local Government Act, 1958, entitling them to claim compensation for loss of office or diminution of emoluments. Special provision will also be made in the compensation regulations for chief constables who held that rank on July 1, 1964.

In Part III your Lordships will notice that Regulation 17 provides that Part I of the Regulations—that for widows and children—shall come into force on March 29, when the increased National Insurance benefits become payable. Part II, however, comes into operation on April 1 because certain provisions of the Police Act, 1964, and police amalgamation schemes under that Act, on which Part II of the Regulations is mainly consequent, come into operation on that date. The Police Councils for England and Wales and for Scotland have been consulted and are in agreement with the proposal that these amendments should be made. My Lords, I beg to move.

Moved, That the Draft Police Pensions (Amendment) Regulations 1965, laid before the House on February 24, be approved.—(Lord Stonham.)


My Lords, I should again like to thank the noble Lord for his careful and clear explanation of these draft Regulations. I can again assure him that, at least so far as I am concerned, they are perfectly satisfactory.

On Question, Motion agreed to.