Suffolk: Police officer could trigger Parliamentary debate after e-petition hits 100,000 mark

A SUFFOLK sergeant’s e-petition railing against controversial changes to police pensions looks as if it will succeed in prompting a House of Commons debate.

Sgt Nigel Tompsett’s online protest passed the 100,000 signature mark this week. The watershed figure should now trigger a discussion over whether the vexed issue will be discussed by MPs in Parliament.

Proposed changes to officers’ pensions have led to heated protests and demonstrations as feelings run high. In May Home Secretary Theresa May was booed over proposed changes to officers’ pay and conditions when giving a speech at the annual Police Federation conference.

The decision over whether police pensions will now be debated in the House of Commons will be made by the Backbench Business Committee.

By Wednesday morning the e-petition had gained 101,612 signatures. Sgt Tompsett’s efforts in gaining such large support have been lauded by the Police Federation Constables’ Central Committee.

A statement released its website read: “In the history of the e-petitions, 100,000 signatures has never before failed to prompt a debate. Well done to all who signed and thanks to Sgt Tompsett.”

Sgt Tompsett – who is based in Saxmundham and has been a police officer for 28 years – said he appreciated the country’s financial situation. However, he added that officers feel it is wrong to diminish the benefits which those already in the police service currently enjoy.

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He said: “We feel passionately about standing up for what is right. It is a core part of being a police officer to stand against what is wrong, unfair and unjust and what the Government is proposing in regard to police pensions is just that.

“We are being told to expect an increase in our pension contributions from 11% to 14.2% of our salaries. We already pay a huge amount into our pension schemes.

“Not only that, but we are being told we must work longer before we can claim our pension, and that when we do, it will be worth less. And we are experiencing a two-year pay freeze together with cuts to our pay and conditions under the Winsor Review.

“We call on Government to recognise the absolute uniqueness of the role of police officers and to protect police pensions from an unfair attack by retaining the current level of contributions, not extending the time needed to work before claiming and to retain the current conditions of the Police Pension Scheme.”

The Government has accepted the case for reforming public sector pensions following the recent review carried out by Lord Hutton.

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