HL Deb 15 December 1969 vol 306 cc854-7

4.47 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that the Police Pensions (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 1969, a draft of which was laid before the House on November 25, be approved. These draft Regulations amend the Police Pensions Regulations 1966 in one respect only. The 1966 Regulations empower a police authority in certain defined circumstances to grant what is known as an augmented award to the widow of a police officer who loses his life as the result of an injury received in the execution of his duty. This award consists of a pension which, with social security benefits, amounts to not less than one half of the average pensionable pay of the deceased officer, together with a substantial lump sum.

Regulation 2 of the draft Regulations reproduces, in 14(1)(a) and (b), the existing provision in the 1966 Regulations, and then, by paragraph (c), adds a new provision which has the effect of extending the circumstances in which the augmented award be paid. The new circumstances are that the officer was attempting to save, or prevent the loss of, human life and there was a likelihood of his receiving a fatal injury. These circumstances correspond to those which were recently introduced into the Firemen's Pension Scheme to allow the payment of a comparable augmented award to a fireman's widow. The new provision is unlikely to increase the average number of augmented awards which become payable each year by more than one or two.

My Lords, I believe the House will welcome this extension of the circumstances in which the augmented award may be paid, and I should advise your Lordships that the Police Council for Great Britain has been consulted about the amendment and is in agreement that it should be made. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Police Pensions (No. 3) Regulations 1969, laid before the House on November 25 last, be approved.—(Lord Beswick.)


My Lords, in the light of the assurance by the noble Lord that the Police Council have agreed to these amending Regulations, I suggest that your Lordships can accept them without hesitation. Personally, I welcome the addition that is being made. I would add that I am sure it is desirable that the pension provisions for policemen's widows and for firemen's widows should be kept as closely as possible in parallel.


My Lords, I should like to raise what I fear may be thought to be a somewhat niggling point, but I notice that the second condition is that where the policeman has been attempting to save human life the circumstances have to be such that there was an intrinsic likelihood of his receiving a fatal injury. I cannot think of any instance of the word "intrinsic" here adding anything at all to the word "likelihood", and I feel that it would be a sorry day if some policeman's widow, after he had lost his life trying to save the life of another, lost her augmented award because, although he lost his life in circumstances where there was a likelihood of his receiving fatal injuries, somebody might say there was not an intrinsic likelihood of his receiving a fatal injury. I cannot see that the word "intrinsic" here is useful at all, and I should have thought that if it does not have a certain meaning it is superfluous and would be much better left out, so that in all the circumstances where there was a likelihood at all of the officer receiving fatal injuries, and he did, then his widow would receive her augmented award.


My Lords, I remember a number of occasions when I have sternly resisted the temptation to say that the noble Lord, Lord Airedale, raised niggling points, and I resist that temptation again to-day. Actually, the word is necessary. It is intended to be there, and it secures a result which it is intended to secure. May I put it this way? The policy of paragraph 14, sub-paragraph (1)(a), is to cover what may be termed "murderous attacks"; that is to say, attacks which are likely to result in death, irrespective of any special peculiarities of the policeman concerned. As the noble Lord knows, there are three levels at which awards can be made, and this is a special case where, by the nature of the act, there was a special risk. This word "intrinsic" has been in the regulation in sub-paragraph (1)(a)—I think I am right—since 1953, and was intended to ensure that this special risk was recognised by a special award. In subparagraph (1)(c) the word is used because it is used in sub-paragraph (1)(a), and it is intended that the two categories of circumstances should be kept in parallel. I think that this is quite right.

I would go along with the noble Lord, Lord Airedale, if there was any evidence before me which suggested that the police authorities, when using their discretion in these matters, had ever used it on the wrong side. They have always used it to make it possible for the widow to receive an award, and I think they will continue to look at these matters generously in that way. But in order to ensure that it is the intrinsic nature of the attack which determines the award, it is suggested that the word should remain in there, and I hope the noble Lord will, on reflection, agree with that.

On Question, Motion agreed to.