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2020 Pay Survey reveals continued impact of pensions crisis

The 2020 Police Superintendents’ Association (PSA) Pay Survey, carried out between November and December 2020, has revealed that members are the most dissatisfied with their pension since the survey began in 2015.
The survey, which asked members of the PSA and the Superintendents Association of Northern Ireland for opinions on a range of areas including pay, pensions, morale and motivation, showed that 49% are dissatisfied with their pension, up from 26% in 2015.  The survey also showed that the lowest proportion of members to date had full transitional protection and that just 8% of the 923 respondents intend to stay in the Service beyond pensions age.
Whilst 39% of respondents said that their pension increased their intention to stay in the police service, the same proportion said it increased their intention to leave. The most common explanation given by those who said that their pension increased their intention to leave was that they did not trust the government not to change their pension for the worse again in future.

Almost half of recipients also reported receiving annual allowance charges in the last 12 months.
As active members of the UK Police Pensions Consultative Forum and the Police Scheme Advisory Board, the PSA has been engaged with the pensions challenge throughout, and In October last year, joined the group action claim against the government, launched by the Police Federation.
The 2020 survey also revealed that less than half of respondents were satisfied with their overall renumeration package and that 71% did not feel their pay was fair compared to employees doing similar work in other organisations.
Despite this, and despite the fact that 63% reported low service morale, and only 54% felt that police are valued by society, 92% remain proud to be in the police.
National Secretary Dan Murphy said: “Our association works to support and represent our members’ welfare and interests, so consultation exercises such as this bi-annual pay survey, are crucial in ensuring we have a full understanding of the issues facing members and their experiences in their operational roles. 
“We know that pensions considerations are of great importance to our members as they plan their future retirement from the Service, many of whom have given decades to policing. We’ve therefore been actively involved in national forums surrounding the pensions challenge to lobby for a fair and equitable process to be put in place to remedy the damage caused by the 2015 changes.

"This year’s survey showed that issues related to pensions, either in terms of pensions remedy or taxation policies, remain the factors most likely to have a negative impact upon morale amongst members of the superintending ranks and this can’t be ignored.

“We’re working through the detail of the government’s recent response to the public consultation on the remedy and will be working with other key stakeholders to try to ensure the best outcome possible for those affected.”

Other survey findings include:


-        44% satisfied with overall remuneration
-        56% satisfied with basic pay
-        71% felt pay was unfair compared to similar roles 
-        74% disagreed they were paid fairly considering stresses and strains of the job


-        87% of respondents felt that their force has manged officers will during the COVID-19 crisis
-        47% report high morale
-        41% said morale was lower than 12 months ago
-        63% report low Service morale 
-        62% report work/life balance negatively impacting morale


-        92% are proud to be in the police
-        64% report high personal motivation
-        54% feel valued
-        39% feel that police are respected by society

Role and responsibilities

-        92% perform an on-call function outside normal hours of duty
-        68% perform on call on rest days
-        56% perform silver/tactical command
-        66% perform PACE authorising function