Non-confidential facts and advice to the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (DMPC)
1. Introduction and background
See Part 2 of this Decision Form.
2. Issues for consideration
See Part 2 of this Decision Form.
3. Financial Comments
There are no direct financial implications for MOPAC associated with the decision at this stage. Pension forfeiture will ‘benefit’ the Police Officer Pension Fund which is funded by officer and employer contributions and the Home Office Top Up grant, and any individual pension forfeiture will not materially affect these.
4. Legal Comments
4.1 Regulation K5 of the Police Pensions Regulations 1987 (as amended) made under the Police Pensions Act 1976 states at sub paragraph (4):
“Subject to paragraph 5, [the pension supervising authority in respect of] a pension to which this Regulation applies may determine that the pension be forfeited, in whole or in part and permanently or temporarily as they may specify, if the grantee has been convicted of an offence committed in connection with his service as a member of a police force which is certified by the Secretary of State either to have been gravely injurious to the interests of the State or to be liable to lead to serious loss of confidence in the public service.” [Emphasis added].
The MOPAC is the local policing body for the Metropolitan Police District under the Police Act 1996. As such, by virtue of section 11(2) of the Police Pensions Act 1976 the MOPAC is the “pension supervising authority” in respect of the Metropolitan Police Service.
4.2 At this first stage of the process it is for the MOPAC to establish whether the ex-officer has committed an offence in connection with his/her service as a member of a police force. The Courts have ruled that the pensioner need not have been a serving officer at the time of the offence in order to meet the requirement that it must be connected with his/her service. For instance, the offence may have been committed after the pensioner retired but he or she may have used police knowledge or police systems or police contacts in the commission of the offence. However, pension rights, once earned, should not be forfeited except in serious circumstances. Forfeiture will therefore not be appropriate in every case where a pensioner has committed a criminal offence, but it should always be considered where the offence was serious and there is or might be public concern about the pensioner’s abuse of his/her position of trust.
4.3. Where a case has been identified, (and without prejudice to the final decision by the police authority on whether to forfeit a pension), the police authority should apply to the Home Secretary for the issue of a certificate. The authority should provide the basis for the application, including the reasons for the police authority’s view that the pensioner’s offence was committed in connection with his/her police service.
4.4 The Home Secretary will then consider whether the pensioner’s offence was either gravely injurious to the interests of the State or liable to lead to serious loss of confidence in the public service. If the Home Secretary issues a certificate on that basis it will be for the police authority to decide whether and to what extent the pension should be forfeited.
5. Equality Comments
There are no specific equality issues associated with the decision at this stage..
6. Background/supporting papers
See Part 2 Decision Form