The Chairman of the Defence Police Federation has said he is “cautiously optimistic” about making progress for members following the body’s first meeting with the Minister at the MoD.
Eamon Keating met Tobias Ellwood MP on Wednesday (1 November) to discuss issues including pensions and funding for the force, among other concerns.
It was his first meeting with the DPF since the MP for Bournemouth East became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence in June.
Speaking shortly after, Eamon said: “I felt the meeting was very productive. It served as an introduction to who we are and what we do and allowed us to lay out some of the concerns facing our members.
“The Minister seemed genuinely interested in working with us and we look forward to opening that dialogue with him. Although we have no timeline as yet, I am cautiously optimistic that our concerns will be addressed. We are working hard to represent our members and will continue to do so.”
The DPF has been fighting for fairer arrangements for MoD Police officers, who – as things stand – will have to work until they are 67 or 68 before they can collect their pensions. Home Office colleagues can retire at 60.
It has also voiced concerns that planned cuts to the Defence Police could leave the UK under serious threat. The force is already understaffed by about 300 firearms officers, and Governmental plans to “reset” its strength to below that level are likely to “harm national security”, Eamon said.
Eamon added that he enjoyed meeting Mr Ellwood and very much looked forward to working with the Minister, who has been dubbed a hero after he tried to save PC Keith Palmer’s life following the attack in Westminster in March.
Mr Ellwood has a military background, having served in the Royal Green Jackets and reaching the rank of captain.
Eamon has previously laid out some of our views in a Blog titled: What do we actually want from the Ministry of Defence Police – and are we going to pay for it? See more here https://www.dpf.org.uk/latest-news/southern-updates/chairman-s-blog-what-do-we-actually-want-from-the-ministry-of-defence-police-and-are-we-going-to-pay-for-it-