HL Deb 22 April 2002 vol 634 cc6-7

2.53 p.m.

Lord Burnham

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they intend to require policemen who wish to continue to serve after the end of their normal term to sign a four-year contract.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Rooker)

My Lords, I recognise the noble Lord's long-standing interest in the issue, but I have to tell him that no final decisions have been taken on the details of a police retention scheme. The Police Negotiating Board is considering a range of reform measures, which include flexible arrangements to allow managers to retain officers entitled to retire with maximum benefits where they wish to do so.

Lord Burnham

My Lords, my concern, which is widely broadcast in the police service, is that the Government will require a four-year service extension. Does the Minister agree that that is undesirable? Does he also agree that if police officers stay on after the end of their normal service, the Government are getting them cheap, because all that they have to pay is the difference between their salary and their pension rights?

Lord Rooker

My Lords, I understand the reasons behind the noble Lord's Question and his supplementary, but the whole issue is wrapped up in the current negotiations. Given that there is a conciliation process going on—indeed, there is to be a conciliation meeting this Friday, 26th April, before a full meeting of the board on 1st May—it would be counter-productive to try to debate on the Floor of the House the pros and cons of a negotiating process covering a range of police pay issues.