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.
The opinions and views expressed here are mine, and mine alone. They do not necessarily reflect the policies and views of the Utopian Police Force nor the City of Utopia.
The stories I tell here are all true but my purpose is not technical accuracy. My purpose is to illustrate the nature of policing in an educational and entertaining way.
I have tried to respect the privacy of the citizens of the city and to relate specific facts without identifying individuals. I believe I succeed in this but if you do recognize yourself and believe others will too, please contact me and I shall rectify it.