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'How many 68-year-old terrorists have you seen on the streets?'

Restrictions to pension access for CNC members could pose a threat to national security
Published - 13/10/2017 By - JJ Hutber- Police Oracle

Concerns have been raised that police officers forced to work into their late 60s could face combat with "fit and determined" terrorists.

Chief executive of the Civil Nuclear Police Federation Nigel Dennis says something must be done about the hugely unfair and vastly different working conditions the force's officers are facing compared to colleagues.

In the wake of recent terror UK terror attacks, more than 400 Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) officers, who report to the Department for Environment of Energy and Climate Change, have been asked to patrol alongside the mainstream workforce as part of Operation Temperer.

But members of CNC are exempt from the Public Services Pension Act 2013, which allows officers to access their pension benefits unreduced if they leave active service at 60.

“How many 67, 68-year-old terrorists have you seen on the streets of the UK?” Mr Dennis asked in an open statement on the federation’s website.

“These are young, fit, determined, well-motivated attackers, causing chaos on these streets. We must match them with equally well-trained and determined people.

“And yet we could be combatting them with 67, 68-year-old armed police officers.”

He added: “Medical science tell us that fitness levels post-60 are in severe decline. Professor John Brewer’s study into police officer fitness tells us that hearing, eyesight and general fitness all decline at the age of 60. And we also have concerns about the musculoskeletal injuries that our members are at risk of carrying at such an age.

“Not to mention it’s hugely unfair.  Why are we asking CNC officers to do the same job as their Home Office colleagues under vastly different working conditions.

“This country does not have sufficient armed officers to deal with the continual threat facing the nation so our members - who are largely armed and expertly trained - are key.

“But how long can they be expected to maintain these superb standards. Is it safe?”

Mr Dennis has met various MPs to discuss the issue and he has received assurances they will be raising their concerns in Parliament.

A Government spokesman said: “The government is committed to maintaining British national security and the protection of its nuclear power sites and supporting those who perform this role.

“We noted the judgement of the High Court last August and continue to work with the Civil Nuclear Police Authority to put in place the required pension arrangements, within the parameters set out in legislation.”

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