On the 16th January the DPF were served with documents, which went to 13 pages (10 of which were the new Statement of Particulars & 3 explaining the changes), suggesting the beginning of a consultation process on new Terms & Conditions of Service (TACOS) for transferees entering into the Ministry of Defence Police from March.
The Department have been clear that these changes will not be applied to transferees in isolation and will migrate to new recruits and, if they are able, to current officers.
These documents effectively break the parity agreement that the MDP has had for over 30 years, set by an independent review of our service by Lord Wright – reinforced by other independent reviews since and include changes which:
· Increase the working week from 40 hours to 42 for no increase in pay;
· Create a requirement to meet and maintain a fitness test on the shuttle run of 7.6
for the lifetime of the individual;
· Separate the new entrant from the pay progression system of the MDP and link
progression to performance, before that is negotiated for the wider MDP;
· Removal of Competency Related Threshold Payment for eligible officers;
· Introduction of a 12 month probation period for transferees;
· Reduction in period for pay due to absence.
This is not an exhaustive list but does highlight the areas that the Federation has most concern with.
The DPF has clearly informed the Department and the Force that these changes constitute a fundamental move away from the agreed conditions and also that the change in hours and pay progression steps away from our agreement on parity and as such requires negotiation, not consultation, in accordance with our Memorandum of Agreement with both the Force and the Department.
The Department has not accepted this and we are meeting on the 12th of February to discuss this, but we have been informed, in writing, that the Force issued these new Statements of Particulars to potential transferees on Friday 7th February 2014.
Eamon Keating, National Chairman of the Defence Police Federation said “It is disappointing that the Force and the Department have chosen to take this route. We have been attempting, for over five years, to engage with the Force and the Department on these issues and issues facing our members, but have been continually delayed by the official side.
To date we have not had a single offer of any change to our TACOS, despite continual pressure from ourselves.
Quite clearly these new conditions will not be introduced solely to transferees and will be used for new recruits with the overall intention to put them onto our current officers, but no negotiation or discussion has taken place with the DPF and further, no consideration appears to have been taken of how this will affect the operational deployment of two sets of officers on two completely different sets of conditions. It will be a nightmare for those officers affected and those trying to manage them.
It is difficult to understand, when quite clearly the Department and Force are taking more and more from our officers, in pension contributions and the Net Pay Deduction, after five years of delaying, why they would seek to remove allowances and increase hours worked, whilst at the same time increasing the working life of an MDP officer by 8 years and setting fitness standards which are in excess of every other police force in Britain.
All they are doing is attempting to create a working environment where most will not be able to see their career to the end and generating as many ways as possible to dispense with officers services without honoring their pension.
I accept that the role carried out by our officers is difficult and physically demanding, but have continually pushed both the Force and the Department to look at weight of equipment, health and wellbeing, occupational health, working environments, pay, the NPD. The list is long, but as a result of delays made continually by the Department, little or no progress has been made in these areas.
Instead we are looking at an employer who, rather than address those issues which affect both the working environment and the health of its staff, would rather attack new entrants and offer Terms and Conditions far below that of any other service. Our new recruits will be paid, according to the Forces website, just over £17500. That is less than a baseline civil servant working Monday to Friday in an office and significantly less than any other police force in the UK.
At no time has the Force or the Department allowed us to engage on these issues in a proper way and it appears that they are simply seeking to enforce these conditions on anyone foolish enough to accept them.
I would not recommend that any officer join the MDP under these terms, as they have not been negotiated, but enforced and you will see yourself having to work 8 years longer than your colleagues in the Home Office or Scottish Forces, with a fitness level higher than them (for employment purposes) and be paid significantly less.
Is this really the way we want to treat those officers in whose hands we place the security of the nations nuclear deterrent?
The Defence Police Federation will continue to try and negotiate these terms with the Department and the Force, but will use all of the options available to ensure that our constitutional responsibilities are fully met if necessary and we are currently seeking the advice of counsel to inform our position.”
The DPF will keep our members updated, through this site, as these issues progress.