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Police and Justice Act 2006

Section 5 and Schedule 3: Power to merge schemes

127.Section 5 and Schedule 3 provide the power to make provision replacing the pensions regulations made under the Police Pensions Act 1976 (which apply to police constables in England, Wales and Scotland), and under the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998 (which apply to constables in Northern Ireland), so as to establish a single, unified pension scheme for persons who became members of one of the original police schemes before 6 April 2006. The Finance Act 2004 limits the benefits which can be offered to persons who join a pension scheme after 6th April 2006. As a consequence any police officer who joined a police pension scheme before 6 April 2006 would, if transferring between the Police Service of Northern Ireland and a police force in Great Britain after that date, be obliged to move into a less advantageous scheme. This is a disincentive to such transfers. The purpose of having a unified pension scheme is to preserve the position as it was before the changes made by the Finance Act 2004.

128.The power to replace the existing regulations so as to create a unified scheme may not be exercised so as to place any person in a less beneficial position, as a member of the unified scheme, than he was in as a member of his previous police pension scheme (paragraph 2(3)(b)).

129.Paragraph 3 of Schedule 3 provides that the Secretary of State, when making the pensions regulations, must consult with the Policing Board of Northern Ireland, and obtain the agreement of the Treasury.  It also allows the regulations to have retroactive effect, so that they may be backdated to 1 April 2006.

130.Paragraph 7 of Schedule 3 provides that, for the purposes of Part 4 of the Finance Act 2004, the new police pension scheme will be treated as a continuation of the original schemes and not a new scheme.

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