COPS Co-founder calls for fairness on police pensions

Posted on November 19, 2014 | Category :Uncategorized | Comments Off

Christine Fulton MBE

THE campaign to ensure police widows and widowers are granted police pensions for life gathers pace.

As this article is published, it approaches 70,000 signatures. COPS Co-founder Christine Fulton (pictured) says current rules force those fortunate enough to form new relationships after the death of a husband or wife choose between love and money. Click here/see below for full article.

Prior to the 2006 Police Pension Act, regulations stated that if a police widow or widower remarries or co-habits they must forfeit their pension.

Yet as far back as 1975 the Police Federation of England and Wales voted unanimously that the co-habitation clause should be deleted.

Chief Inspector David Howell from Wiltshire raised some embarrassed laughter when he said: “I am sure if our own pensions depended upon our sexual chastity there would be some worried faces.”

Forty years later that clause still stands – and the widows of officers who joined the force prior to 2006 will still lose their pension if they are fortunate enough to form a new relationship.

My husband was PC Lewis Fulton of Strathclyde Police. In June 1994 at the age of 28 he was brutally stabbed to death by a schizophrenic who had already stabbed and badly injured a sergeant.

With one thrust of a blade Lewis’s life was over and I was left a widow with a seven month old child.

Like many police wives I had given up work to care for our son. My pension became my only form of income.  I have always thought of this pension as Lewis’s last gift to me. To part with it would be to part with the final part of him.

In 2004 I started a campaign to have the regulations changed to allow us to keep our pensions, and two years later the new pension act was introduced – but only for officers who joined after that date.

Officers who were currently serving were given the opportunity to transfer to the new scheme if they wished, but of course it was too late for Lewis.

The government, although sympathetic, was adamant that pension changes could not be made retrospectively under any circumstances – yet earlier this year they did just that when the rules were amended in Northern Ireland.

Widows of officers who joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary after 1987 are now able to keep their pensions, and those who have already had theirs taken from them will have them reinstated.

How can this be fair?  The spouses of all deceased officers should be treated with the same dignity and respect no matter where in the UK their officer served.

Now the government has announced that everyone who is in receipt of an armed forces pension, from 1975 onwards, will also be able to remarry without being penalised by the loss of their income.

Our loved ones all signed up to the same sort of pension scheme and all we are asking for is parity, to be allowed to fall in love and move forward with our lives the way our husbands and wives would want.

Just because Lewis did not have a future does not mean that I don’t.

Please support us by signing our online petition: https://www.change.org/p/theresa-may-mp-grant-police-widows-pensions-for-life-don-t-make-them-choose-between-future-happiness-and-pensions

Christine Fulton

MBE

Co-founder Care of Police Survivors

(article originally published in www.policeoracle.com)

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