Royal Parks Constabulary

Home Department written question – answered on 24th February 2005.

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Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Labour, Hayes and Harlington

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department by what mechanisms the Royal Parks Constabulary staff pay and conditions will be protected if they transfer to the Metropolitan Police Service as proposed in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill.

Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport and Tourism), Department for Culture, Media & Sport

I have been asked to reply.

The key elements of the proposed transfer arrangements, which have been the subject of consultation with members of the Royal Parks Constabulary (RPC) and their union representatives, are as follows.

RPC pay rates are pegged at 85.5 per cent. of MPS rates; officers transferring to the MPS as constables will therefore immediately benefit from a higher rate of pay, as well as the much improved career prospects which the MPS is able to offer. Their length of service and rank will be recognised, and they will have the opportunity to remain in the Royal Parks Operational Command Unit for a maximum of 10 years. If an officer is ineligible, or chooses not to transfer as a constable but wishes to transfer as a Community Support Officer or member of police staff, then the MPS have agreed to maintain their rate of pay on a mark time basis for three years. If officers are ineligible to become MPS officers they will also have the option of redundancy, though we hope that few will be in this position.

As civil servants, RPC officers are currently in the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS), whereas MPS officers are in the Police Pension Scheme (PPS). Officers transferring have the option of freezing their benefits in the PCSPS or transferring them to the PPS. We have worked very closely with the Government Actuary's Department on the arrangements for pensions transfers from the one to the other which are designed with the aim of providing at the time of retirement from the MPS a retirement package which will be at least as good as if they had remained in the PCSPS and retired at the same age.

The current retirement age for RPC officers is 60, subject to continuing satisfactory health, conduct and performance. For MPS officers the retirement age is 55, but the maximum retirement age is also 60, subject to application for, and annual approval of, extension of service. Annual extensions take into account health, conduct and efficiency, and the continuing requirement for the role. So RPC officers transferring will, subject to these requirements, have the opportunity to continue until 60.

The Police Act 1996 allows any person who was a member of a trade union immediately before joining a force to retain membership of that union with the consent of the Chief Officer. I understand that all requests from officers to retain union membership after their transfer to the MPS have been approved, and I see no reason why future requests should not also be approved.

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