The Scottish National Party (SNP) is leading a parliamentary campaign over the lack of parity between the retirement age of officers in the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and those in Home Office forces.
Civil Nuclear Constabulary officers
An early day motion submitted by SNP MP Dr Paul Monaghan outlined that the Department of Energy and Climate Change – which funds the CNC due to its extensive role in protecting the UK’s energy assets – has failed to ensure a standard retirement age for officers in all forces.
The motion was tabled on Monday (May 9) and so far has the support of 20 MPs, the majority of those from the SNP.
The motion criticised the Government’s failure to confirm whether the retirement age of CNC officers will be brought into line with that of other forces.
“The Government has so far failed to act to rectify the inequity in retirement age, which is unrealistic and unfair to the officers, and has failed to recognise the potential consequences of reduced operational effectiveness in the context of protecting the public from potential terrorist attack,” Dr Monaghan’s motion said.
CNC officers are required to carry and deploy firearms and ammunition weighing approximately 25 kilograms, and potentially respond to terrorist attacks in support of territorial police forces across the UK.
The Civil Nuclear Police Authority – which regulates the CNC – believes that the organisation is not a “police service”, which means that the retirement age of 60 for officers from Home Office funded forces and the British Transport Police does not apply.
The Civil Nuclear Police Federation is currently challenging this determination in the High Court and has sought a judicial review to clarify whether the CNC is a police service and therefore if the standard retirement age should apply.
Speaking in April, CNPF chief executive Nigel Dennis said due to the high standards of physical fitness and weapon competency required, raising the retirement age was “not the safe thing to do and “not morally right”.
“Retirement at 60 is the only reasonable age that our officers can possibly serve to and still be deemed operationally effective,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "The Government passed the Public Service Pensions Act 2013 which set out a wide-ranging package of public service pension reforms. The Civil Nuclear Police Authority is currently considering how to implement these, within the parameters set out in the legislation.”
From 2020 the state pension age will be 66 for both men and women, rising to 67 by 2020.