Voluntary redundancy introduced for police officers

A “VOLUNTARY exit package” for police officers has been introduced to the service for the very first time by the Home Office.

In exchange for agreeing to be made redundant, exiting officers below their “pension age” will  receive a compensation payment of one month’s salary for every year of service – up to a maximum of 21 months.

That money would be before tax.

Chief constables and Police and Crime Commissioners from individual forces have to deem it “suitable” for their force and, being voluntary, the officers themselves have to go for it.

Jon Christopher, chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation said no decision has been made in the force on whether to introduce voluntary redundancy for police officers and no date has been set for any announcements.

“As soon as we know we will pass on the message to our members,” he added.

“I am sure there will be some people who will think it is the right option for them, while others understandably will not.”

The voluntary exit scheme is another tool being given to chief constables – in addition to the use of Regulation A19 – to help them manage their workforces. It came in after the Winsor 1 report into police officer pay and conditions was negotiated and ratified.

Steve Williams, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “We accepted the principle of a voluntary exit scheme for police officers on the basis that no compulsory severance scheme would be introduced.

“It’s a matter for chief constables whether they want to offer such a scheme and it’s a matter for individual officers whether they would wish to apply.”

ACPO guidance for forces states, a consultation process with the Police Federation and Superintendents’ Association “as appropriate” should be commenced prior to publicising the beginning of the scheme.

The consultation must include any selection or de-selection criterion based on which officers will be eligible to apply

The chief officer guidance adds voluntary redundancy “should not be used as a substitute for Unsatisfactory Performance Procedures (UPP) or conduct processes” by forces.

A constable with 11 years’ service, aged 37, earning £36,000 would receive a compensation payment of 11 months’ salary, so £33,000. A constable with 26 years’ service aged 47, earning the same amount would receive a compensation payment of 21 months’ salary, so £63,000. This is limited by the maximum 21 months’ rule.

A Home Office spokesman said: “It is only right that chief constables and their PCCs have the flexibility they need to lead their forces effectively.

“The voluntary exit scheme was recommended by independent reviewer Tom Winsor and agreed through the police negotiating board.”

To read the Home Office guidance in full, click here