Saturday, 12 May 2012

We're All In This Together........Not!

When I joined the police 8% of my salary was taken as a contribution towards my pension. That went up to 11% in 1987. Those contributions will now go up to 14.2%. Combined with a four year pay freeze, the standard of living of all officers is going to be significantly eroded. With the state of the economy we have pretty well resigned ourselves to this.

The police budget is being cut by 20% and in the short term that will mean significantly increased pressures and demands on officers. The level of service we provide is deteriorating. Mistakes will be made, some of which will have serious consequences for victims and officers. Morale is already falling and will go through the floor when the Winsor proposals take effect. When officers start being made redundant and G4S security guards take over patrolling the streets and investigating all crime, the police service we know, and which is admired all over the world, will be consigned to history.

As part of the review of public sector pensions, judges are now being required to make contributions towards their pensions for the first time. Up until now they have been non contributory. They are being asked to pay just 1.8% towards their pension and are not at all happy about it. Judges earn between £103K (District Judges) and £240K (Lord Chief Justice.) They earn a 50% pension after 20 years service. The average judges pension is £54K. In addition to this, the vast majority have already  built up a huge private pension pot from their time as barristers.

The judges have two arguments against paying pension contributions. Firstly, they maintain that barristers are earning more than judges and so there is no incentive to become a judge and there is a risk that we will not be able to recruit good quality judges.

Secondly, having to pay pension contributions is effectively a pay cut. Judges are a special case and there is a constitutional need to protect their independence from the Government and they should be protected from the Government being able to cut their pay.

The judges have set up a fighting fund and are considering taking their case to the courts. I hope they can afford a barrister! There is a threat of industrial action ahead. Apparently judges have that right, which is withheld from the police.

If barristers are earning more than judges it simply confirms to me that people are paying themselves disgusting amounts of money. And the worst fact is that some of these people think they are worth it. I support capitalism but it has gone seriously awry. When the average annual salary is £29K we should not be paying people hundreds of thousands of pounds or millions in the case of company executives. There used to be a company in America. The rules of the company stated that the Chief Executive could not earn more than 10 times that of the lowest paid worker. We need to get back to some reality such as this to rein in some of our overpaid brass.


  1. I cannot abide the corrupt arcana, arrogance and insatiable greed of the legal profession, lex. If it is any comfort, there has never been a profession more hated.

    Shakespeare's mocking frustration...'the first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers'... is as sharp today as it was during and before, the reign of Henry 1V.

    PS - So glad to note Gadget's pestilent inability to distinguish between 'rein' and 'reign' is not contagious.

  2. melv, may I be the first to congratulate you on providing a comment that, isn't encrypted; doesn't immediately slate the police, whether there is any evidence to support the view or not; acknowledges that there are worse out there and suggests a solution.
    Long may it reign!
    Killing the lawyers will never, unfortunately, be allowed. Treating them as contemptible parasites and putting them on minimum wage would do it for me.

  3. Aveerage IQ of judge. 140. Average IQ of police 60.

  4. @ Anon

    Your point is not an outright casualty of exaggeration and brings to mind an old student proposal for bridging a certain gap. Perhaps you are familiar with a proposal the Establishment of the day hijacked for its own purposes?

  5. No, I am familiar with political prisoners in Britain getting a raw deal.

  6. I'm in the wrong job then with an iq of 140!!

  7. I'd probably check the spelling and grammar of my post if I was attempting to slag off someone else's intelligence :-)


  8. What happens after Tango? My guess is something akin to the Nuremberg trials. Don't worry, I will be there to kick the chair out from under your feet and watch you wriggle.

  9. Anon,
    If you are prophesying the collapse of the police and law and order, then I imagine that you will be cowering in your basement whilst the really nasty people (that we deal with every day) are out robbing, raping and looting.

    I am not quite clear what offences you believe I have committed - maybe you have an objection to the prosecution of rapists and paedophiles ;-) ?


  10. Prosecute my poor white ass! I was in Ingerlund for 4 days, 100 hours. Entered and exited. Not much use at catching "criminals" are you? Ha Ha go and meet up with drug pushers, take your bribes. Derry fully supports RAAD. We don't have police on the West Bank.

  11. Brontosaurus14 May, 2012 23:53

    Oh Ciaran, you sad little man. Stop pretending you are some wanted criminal. We don't want you. If your mother didn't want you or you weren't breastfed long enough, go and get some help. You are wasting your life in your fantasy world.

  12. @ Bentosaurus

    Suspended from duty...yet again, old chap?

  13. I am a bit fed up listening to the public sector moan about their pay and pensions.

    Yes I am a criminal law solicitor but I earn at the moment just £2,000, which is nothing like the pay of a judge. I currently pay 15% of my salary into my pension, which will be nothing like that of my girlfriend who pays half that amount into her pension pot.

    If you don't like the pension arrangements then feel free to opt out and see if you can buy a better deal on the private market like the rest of us have to.

    Incidentally, judges get more financial reward due to the basic workings of capitalism. It takes a lot more work and effort to become a judge than it does to become a policeman, thus the pool of recruits is limited to what is relatively speaking a tiny number, hence the law of supply and demand will ensure that the cost of a judge far outweighs that of a policeman.

  14. Sorry, should say that is £2k per month or £24,000 p.a.

  15. Bronte which lodge do you belong to? 321 Ras Clarts? (Funny handshake).

  16. "Sorry, should say that is £2k per month or £24,000 p.a."

    Prior to the apology and correction, my lip had started to quiver, anon. I was on the brink of forwarding a postal order, sufficient to buy the kids some Cornflakes, when I realised that our Benefits System could not fail but intervene in a life of such abject poverty. You had also omitted to clarify any part-time status.

    As my late father would remark upon the receipt of legal bills, "Anorexic swine are more common than honest lawyers."

  17. Anon at 16:40

    I appreciate that we do get a good pension - and even after the cuts it will be decent. However it will not be the pension that I signed up for as part of the package of terms and conditions that I had to consider before joining the police. The basic unfairness of the retrospective nature of those cuts is what hurts. I wholly sympathise with those whose private pensions have been hammered by the financial crash(es). I consider it reasonable (to an extent) to expect to join in the financial suffering of a large proportion of the general public however:-

    1) It is easy to race to the bottom and simply say - "Get another job" or "Try and get a better pension" - what will that achieve other than reducing everyone in the country to the lowest common denominator. It would be utterly insane to accept draconian cuts without resistance.

    2)When the markets eventually recover and private pay and pensions react instantly to the conditions, the public sector, as always will lag. The changes made to the pay and pensions to this generation of officers are to all effects permanent. THIS is the next 30 years of policing.

    3)The police pensions pot was a minimal cost to the exchequer - and that cost was largely due to the government running it like a Ponzi scheme and spending the money elsewhere - rather than ringfencing and investing it for the provision of pensions. The alterations to the scheme whilst having a devastating effect on pensioners have an infintesimal effect on overall government spending.

    4)I would be interested to know how long you have been a criminal law solicitor, are you full or part-time and what your financial prospects are. I would guess that you do not intend to earn 24K for the rest of your career.

    5)The basic workings of capitalism would suggest that by increasing the number of judges you could decrease the pay. By implementing some tighter regulation and perfomance targets you could weed out the incompetent under performers in good lean capitalist fashion. By privatising them in the style Winsor's capitalist model for the police we could have companies of judges competing to provide the cheapest judgements.
    Winsor says that under the new regs 10% of cops WILL be found to be underperforming and moves will be made to get rid of them.
    Will we see any of these "reforms" in the judicial profession?


  18. Anon criminal law solicitor - please re-read the post/brief. You have completely missed the point of it.