News

Check Your Tax Code

It has come to the notice of the Staffordshire Police Federation that not all Staffordshire Police Officers will be on the correct tax code, particularly concerning the ability to claim for professional subscriptions, (Federation) and a flat rate expense, (laundry). It is not possible to give examples as an Officer’s tax code will be personal according to individual circumstances, however it is recommended that you make contact with the HM Revenue on the below telephone numbers to ensure you are on the correct tax code.

HM Revenue and Customs: 01355 359022 or 08453000627.

You will need your National Insurance number.

It is also possible that this incorrect tax coding has occurred for some period of time and it is advised to check the rates for the past 6 year period, the maximum at which can be claimed. If a rebate is due, then the HM Revenue may require a written letter for a claim to be made. The below table will assist with the figures that can be claimed…

 

Tax year 

 

  Police Federation Subscriptions 

 

  Flat Rate Expenses

 2005/06

 £188.76

 £55

2006/07 £194.61 £55
2007/08 £199.68 £110
2008/09 £205.92 £140
2009/10 £210.60 £140
2010/11 £221.76 £140

2011/12

2012/13 

2013/14 

2014/15

2015/16

 2016/17 

2017/18

£258.96

£258.96 

£258.96  

£258.96 

£258.96

£258.96

£258.96

£140

£140 

£140

£140

£140

£140

£140

 

 

 

Police Pension Scheme Contribution Increase

Dear Colleague

This morning the Home Secretary announced that she would implement the first year of increases to police pension contribution rates (i.e. 2012-13), in line with the proposal put to PNB in July 2011.

We have received confirmation of the Pension contributions increase for members of both the PPS and NPPS from 1 April 2012, which will be tiered as follows:

  • Tier 1: those on basic annual salary of under £27,000 (equivalent to Constable with less than 2 years’ service);
  • Tier 2: those on basic annual salary of more than £27,000 but less than £60,000 (equivalent to Constable with 2 years’ service or more, to Chief Inspector); and
  • Tier 3: those on a basic annual salary of £60,000 and over (equivalent to Superintendent and above).

The actual increases are as follows:

  • Tier 1:
    PPS – n/a 
    NPPS – 0.6% increase (a contribution rate of 10.1%)
  • Tier 2:
    PPS – 1.25% increase (a contribution rate of 12.25%)
    NPPS – 1% increase (a contribution rate of 10.5%)
  • Tier 3:
    PPS – 1.5% increase (a contribution rate of 12.5%)
    NPPS – 1.25% increase (a contribution rate of 10.75%)

The proposal from the Home Secretary that was sent to the Staff Side of the Police Negotiation Board for consultation in July 2011 included proposed increases to the police pension contribution rates, which were in accordance with the recommendations within the Hutton Review of public sector pensions and were to be phased in over 3 years from April this year.

Within our response to the consultation we identified our concerns that police officers were being consulted on year-on-year increases for the next three years whereas other public service groups were being consulted on the increase for 2012-13 only, with the increases for 2013-14 and 2014-15 being subject to further consultation and discussion.

The Home Secretary has now decided that it would not be right to implement all three years of increases for police officers when other public service schemes are only implementing the first year. Instead the Home Secretary has decided to implement the increase for 2012-13 and will ask the PNB to consider the proposed increases for 2013-14 and 2014-15 in line with other public service schemes. I will keep you informed of any further developments.

Regards,

Dean Colley

Joint Branch Board Secretary

The PAT Decision on Winsor Part One – What It Really Means

The Home Secretary has announced that she will accept in full the decision of the Police Arbitration Tribunal in respect of the recommendations in the Winsor Review’s first report. This document attempts to explain the changes proposed in the first report from the Winsor Review and how far they have been modified by the recent decision of the Police Arbitration Tribunal.

1) Overtime

Winsor recommended the following:

  • Casual overtime should be reduced from time and a third to just plain time
  • The minimum hours for being recalled between duty should be abolished and instead paid at plain time for the hours worked plus travelling time.
  • Officers should no longer receive double time for working on a rostered rest day with less than five days’. Instead all rest day working with fewer than 15 days’ notice should be at time and a half.
  • Police officers should be able to nominate seven days in addition to 25 December which will count as their public holiday entitlements. If they have to work on those days with less than 15 days’ notice, they will receive double-time, but an ACC must authorise the cancellation of their nominated public holiday.

The PAT has modified these proposals. While the recommendations in relation to recalls to duty, rest days and public holidays have been retained, all casual overtime will still be payable at time and a third rather than plain time. This will also apply to any travelling time for recalls between tours of duty.

2) On-call

Winsor recommended a national on-call allowance of £15 for each occasion of oncall after the officer in question has undertaken 12 on-call sessions in the year.

The PAT did not make an award, meaning that this recommendation was not accepted. In explaining why it did not make an award, the PAT stated that the proposed level of £15 was “rather low”, given:

  • The high level of skills required to be possessed by officers who are on-call.
  • The proposed 12 on-call sessions qualifying period.
  • The fact that an amount of £23 per session has been applied in Scotland.

The PAT agreed with Staff Side that the issue of on-call should be examined as part of Winsor Part Two.

3) Variable Shift Arrangements

Winsor recommended that Chief Officers will no longer need JBB agreement before bringing into operation a variable shift arrangement (VSA).

Unfortunately the PAT accepted this recommendation. Now Chief Officers will only need to consult, rather than agree, a VSA with the local Joint Branch Board. They will also have to consult with the affected officers and take full account of their individual circumstances, including the likely effects of the new arrangement on their personal circumstances. New shift arrangements should not be brought into effect earlier than 30 days after the communication of the decision of the Chief Officer.

4) Part-time working

Winsor recommended that an officer wishing to return from part-time to full-time working, must be appointed within two months if the force has a suitable vacancy, and within four months of the written notice being received.

The PAT has accepted this recommendation.

5) Mutual Aid/Held in reserve

Winsor recommended that:

  • The Hertfordshire Agreement should no longer apply for officers on mutual aid, and that officers should be paid for the hours they are required to work each day, plus travelling time to and from the place of duty.
  • That the definition of ‘proper accommodation’ should be revised to describe a single occupancy room with use of en suite bathroom facilities. Where such accommodation is not provided, the officer should receive a payment of £30 per night. The current definition of ‘higher standard accommodation’ should be removed and not replaced.
  • Officers held in reserve on a day and who have not been paid for any mutual aid tour of duty that day, should receive the on-call allowance of £15 for that day.
  • The PAT has modified these proposals:
  • The PAT has awarded that officers on mutual aid who are unable to return home are to receive a new 'Away from Home Overnight Allowance' of £50 per night, as well as payment for all hours worked plus travelling time to and from the place of duty.
  • The PAT has accepted the definition and payment level in respect of ‘proper accommodation’.
  • The PAT has not made an award in respect of an on-call allowance (see above).

6) Pay increments

Winsor recommended that all officers below the top of their pay scale should be suspended at that increment for a two-year period.

The PAT has modified these proposals. The first three steps on the constables’ scale will be excluded from the proposed suspension.

7) Competence Related Threshold Payments

Winsor recommended that Competence Related Threshold Payments (CRTPs) should be abolished.

The PAT has modified these proposals. CRTPs will remain in place for those who already receive them, but there will be a two-year freeze on new applications.

8) Special Priority Payments

Winsor recommended that Special Priority Payments (SPPs) should be abolished all outstanding SPPs should be paid on a pro-rated basis.

The PAT has accepted this recommendation.

9) Housing Allowance

Winsor recommended that:

  • Housing replacement allowance should remain, but that it should not go up for an officer if their personal circumstances change, for example if they receive a promotion.
  • The existing framework, by which the amount an officer receives reduces when he or she lives with another officer also receiving the allowance, should remain.

The PAT has accepted this recommendation.

10) Role-related pay (EPAA)

Winsor recommended that an interim Expertise and Professional Accreditation Allowance (EPAA) of £1,200 per annum should be introduced for officers in the following categories:

  • Professionalising Investigation Programme (PIP) accredited detectives
  • Officers accredited to Public Order Level 1 or 2
  • Officers in possession of Authorised Firearms Officer status
  • Officers who have worked in Neighbourhood policing for three years

These roles were chosen without any apparent transparency and Staff Side hade concerns that they would lead to an increase in the gender pay gap. There was also evidence that forces would restrict the numbers of officers which could access these roles.

The PAT did not make an award, accepting Staff Side’s view that rewarding officers in particular roles or with specific skills should be properly examined in Part two of the Winsor Review, looking at longer term reform.

11) Unsocial Hours Payments

Winsor recommended that all constables, sergeants, inspectors and chief inspectors should receive an additional 10 per cent of their basic pay, on an hourly basis, for any hours worked between 8:00pm and 6:00am. This allowance would not be pensionable.Winsor estimated that officers on a standard eight-hour alternating shift system within a four-team pattern would receive an average unsocial hours allowance of:

  • Constables – £1,200 per annum
  • Sergeants – £1,500 per annum
  • Inspectors – £1,900 per annum
  • Chief Inspectors – £2,100 per annum

The PAT has accepted this recommendation.

What happens next? Clearly officers will have questions about the implementation of the PAT ruling. The PAT did not specify a deadline for any of its recommendations to be implemented, but it did envisage that the necessary changes to administrative processes to implement its recommendations would have been completed by 1 April 2012.

Subsequent to the Home Secretary’s announcement, we expect a Home Office Circular and draft determinations for consultation within the Police Negotiating Board, which would set out the timeframe in respect of the implementation and detailed operation of the changes set out in the PAT ruling.

IAN RENNIE

General Secretary

30 January 2012

Police Arbitration Tribunal (PAT) Meeting - Chairman's Statement

We can confirm that the PAT hearing concluded on 22 November 2011 and that their decision is now awaited.  No timescale was given for the decision.  We will keep you informed of any developments.

 

Ahead of the Police Arbitration Tribunal (PAT) meeting today, Tuesday 8 November, to consider the recommendations from the Winsor Part One Report, please find the below statement from Paul McKeever, Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales:

“Following the failure to agree between the Official Side and Staff Side at July’s Police Negotiating Board meeting, the Police Arbitration Tribunal (PAT) will meet today, Tuesday 8 November, to consider the recommendations from the Winsor Part One Report. The decision to go to the PAT was reached after there was a failure to agree at the final PNB meeting. The Official Side failed to accept an alternative set of proposals put forward by Staff Side which offered equivalent fiscal savings to those proposed as part of Winsor Part 1 recommendations. Details of the negotiations remain subject to the PNB/PAT process but we remain hopeful that the arbiters will agree with our concerns about the Winsor Part 1 recommendations and find in our favour.  We expect the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to keep the promise she made last year to  police officers of England and Wales to fight our corner and honour the negotiation process and the decision of the PAT.  We remain committed to fighting for the fairest deal for police officers throughout the UK and will endeavour to keep you updated every step of the way."

Misuse of Force Computers

There has been a significant rise in the number of officers receiving Regulation Notices which refer to the Misuse of Force computer systems.

Everybody should be aware of the logon notification with regard to accessing  and using  the force systems, and yet it would appear that many of you are ignoring the warning.

It is therefore necessary to re issue some advice on this matter and in particular draw your attention to a Joint Branch Board Circular No. 030/2010 which is titled "APPLICATIONS FOR CRIMINAL / MISCONDUCT ADVICE IN RELATION TO THE USE OF POLICE COMPUTER SYSTEMS FOR A 'POLICING PURPOSE'".

The misuse of the computer systems and its data is taken very seriously as highlighted in the following paragraphs from the document:

Officers who access computer systems for a non authorised purpose are liable to be prosecuted for the criminal offences of 'unauthorised access' under section 1 Computer Misuse Act 1990 or obtaining or disclosing or procuring the disclosure of data for a 'non authorised purpose' under section 55 Data Protection Act 1998.

Offences of this nature can be punishable with imprisonment. Officers are also liable to face
misconduct proceedings for failure to meet the appropriate standards of 'confidentiality' or 'orders and instructions' and these can be assessed as gross misconduct.

I cannot emphasise enough the importance of reading this document below thoroughly.

JBB Circular

APPLICATIONS FOR CRIMINAL / MISCONDUCT ADVICE IN RELATION TO THE USE OF POLICE COMPUTER SYSTEMS FOR A 'POLICING PURPOSE'

Police Officers are in an extremely privileged position in that they have access to both the Police National Computer (PNC) and Force Intelligence Systems on a daily basis. Many requests for legal assistance are received from members who have been served with Regulation 15 notices in relation to their use of police computer systems.

In an effort to get a clearer understanding of what constitutes and what does not constitute a "policing purpose" in connection to any checks of police computer systems, advice has been obtained from Russell Jones & Walker.

Chief Officers are authorised to retain, control and use data for a "police purpose". This essentially means the investigation, detection and prevention of crime. Whilst almost all police officers can access police computer systems for an authorised purpose, there have been many examples of officers accessing systems for a non authorised purpose. This Circular is therefore intended to give some guidance on what is a non authorised purpose.

Officers who access computer systems for a non authorised purpose are liable to be prosecuted for the criminal offences of 'unauthorised access' under section 1 Computer Misuse Act 1990 or obtaining or disclosing or procuring the disclosure of data for a 'non authorised purpose' under section 55 Data Protection Act 1998. Offences of this nature can be punishable with imprisonment. Officers are also liable to face misconduct proceedings for failure to meet the appropriate standards of 'confidentiality' or 'orders and instructions' and these can be assessed as gross misconduct.

Generally, an authorised purpose is the investigation of crime. However, it would be a mistake for a police officer to conduct or request a check on a police computer system in any matter that related to them personally, without first obtaining the approval of a line manager.

For example, conducting a vehicle check on a vehicle registered to a neighbour, or on a vehicle registered to an estranged partner's new partner, or accessing a crime report in relation to a friend, who has been a victim of crime, are likely to be viewed as checks for personal reasons and not for a legitimate police purpose.

The reported case of DPP v BIGNALL 119981 1 Cr. App. R 1 suggests that if a police officer has general authority to access police computer systems he does not commit the offence of unauthorised access contrary to the Computer Misuse Act. However, in this case the Divisional Court made it clear that the officers could have been prosecuted under the Data Protection Act or dealt with under the police disciplinary proceedings. This was confirmed in the later House of Lords case of R V Bow Street Magistrates Court Ex p. Allinson (No.2) 120001 1 Cr. App. R. 61 which additionally said that the fact that a police officer had a general authority to access police computer systems did not mean that he had authority to access for a non authorised purpose.

Most Forces have issued internal standard operating procedures (SOPs) which define the limits of a police officer's authority to access police computer systems. Any departure from these SOPs is likely to be viewed as a non-authorised purpose which could result in the officer being prosecuted or disciplined. Officers should familiarise themselves with their Force's SOP. However, the best advice is that if there is any doubt as to whether a particular check is authorised or not, an officer should obtain the approval in writing of a line manager before conducting any such check.

'Police Friends' should be careful in relation to conducting any checks in the preparation of the defence on behalf of an officer facing investigation or proceedings. Friends will be aware of the penultimate paragraph of page 9 of the Home Office Guidance on Police Misconduct, Unsatisfactory Performance and Attendance Management Procedures which provides guidance on the role of the friend and states It is not the role of the friend to conduct his or her own investigation into the matter.

Whilst R v Chief Constable of The North Wales Police force ex parte CON NAH (which is in the Police Federation Conduct Manual 2008) confirms that a friend is entitled to prepare the accused officer's defence, including the interviewing of witnesses without the interference of the Force or the investigating officer, it would not be appropriate for the friend to conduct checks on the police computer system to ascertain whether a complainant or witness was 'known to police'. Paragraph 351 of the IPCC Statutory Guidance (April 2010) also confirms the Information Commissioner's view that a routine enquiry on the PNC for any previous convictions of a complainant is a breach of the data protection principle that information should be used for the purpose for which it was collected, i.e. the prevention and detection of crime.

As such information would be a matter of record; the appropriate course would be to invite the investigating officer to conduct such checks under the Guidance paragraph 2.117. This would protect the friend from any suggestion that this was an unauthorised access.

From the research conducted it can be concluded that there is very limited legitimate access to police computer systems and if the access is not in relation to the investigation, detection or prevention of crime then that access will be deemed as for a non authorised purpose.

To further emphasise the seriousness of non authorised access, a recent crown court case involved an officer who accessed a force intelligence system in relation to checks on their and an expartners motor vehicle. This access resulted in several charges of 'Misconduct in a Public Office' and a subsequent sentence of 9 months imprisonment suspended for 2 years.

In sentencing the officer the Judge said; 'In the modern world it is axiomatic (self evident/obvious) the police must hold huge amounts of information about all citizens. ....It is vital we all have confidence in its safekeeping and those who have access to it. Any misuse of that access by a public servant brings the system into disrepute. It undermines the trust the public may have in the police"

This gives a clear warning to members of the seriousness in which non authorised access of police computer systems is viewed and it is essential that if any member has a doubt about the validity of a particular check, they should seek guidance and authority from a supervisor or manager before carrying out such a check. If authority is not given then the member should not carry out the check.

This needs to be borne in mind when assessing requests for legal assistance in accordance with the 'Funding Criteria' as although any checks may have occurred whilst the member was on duty, if they have not been conducted for an authorised purpose as outlined above, then they cannot be construed as being in the performance or purported performance of their duties as a member of a police force and therefore funding for legal advice and/or representation is likely to be refused.

The contents of this circular need to be clearly emphasised and brought to the attention of the wider membership.

If you have any queries with regard to this circular, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Deputy General Secretary