From 1 April 2015 you are automatically enrolled to the 2015 Scheme on appointment to a police force unless you decide to opt out. On joining a police force, you may be asked to have a medical examination (free of charge) so that the Police Pension Authority can decide whether you will be eligible for ill-health benefits (This does not apply to former members of the 1987 Scheme or the 2006 Scheme who join the 2015 Scheme on 1 April 2015 or at the end of their Tapered Protection Period).
If the Police Pension Authority determines (after any appeal) that the likely cost of providing benefits is disproportionately high, you can still join the 2015 Scheme and pay reduced contributions but you will not receive ill-health benefits. An exclusion from ill-health benefits under the 1987 Scheme or the 2006 Scheme will also provide an exclusion from ill-health benefits under the 2015 Scheme.
It is possible for you to be a member of the 2015 Scheme and to contribute to other pension schemes, such as a personal pension plan, at the same time. You are advised to consult an independent financial adviser if you are interested in this.
If you are (or are considering) moving between forces and/or you have a gap in service (or are considering one), differing conditions may apply according to your individual circumstances. You should contact your pensions administrator in the first instance so that you are aware of any potential consequences.
Automatic enrolment means that your Police Pension Authority will automatically enrol you onto the 2015 Scheme on your first day of Eligible Service under the 2015 Scheme.
If you opt out of the 2015 Scheme you will be automatically re-enrolled into the 2015 Scheme every 3 years on your automatic re-enrolment date. If you want to remain opted out, you will need to opt out within one month; this will be backdated from the automatic re-enrolment date.
If you are thinking of opting out of the 2015 Scheme or the 1987 Scheme or the 2006 Scheme you are strongly recommended to take independent financial advice before you make a decision.
You can opt out of the 2015 Scheme at any time by sending written notice to your Police Pension Authority. If you opt out in the first three months of you joining the police force, your decision is back-dated to the date you became a member of the police force. If you decide to leave the 2015 Scheme at any future date, your decision will take effect from the start of your next pay period after the receipt of your opt-out notice by your Police Pension Authority or on any later date which your Police Pension Authority considers appropriate.
If you opt out of the 2015 Scheme you can re-join if you wish. This may be subject to a medical examination, at your expense, to decide whether you will be eligible for ill-health benefits. You will be re-admitted to the 2015 Scheme at the start of your next pay period (with or without access to ill health benefits) after the receipt of your opt-in notice by your Police Pension Authority or on any later date which your Police Pension Authority considers appropriate.
However if you opt out within 12 months after opting in, you will not be able to opt in again until the end of that period of 12 months.
Opting out of the 2015 Scheme will have a number of consequences, including:
Staying an Active Member of the 2015 Scheme has a number of significant benefits, including:
An opt out form can be downloaded from the Scheme Guides & Forms Area.
If you are returning to the police force after a gap in service (this does not include a career break) not exceeding 5 years, you may be able to accrue future benefits in the 2015 Scheme.
If you once again become an Active Member of the 2015 Scheme after a gap in service not exceeding 5 years your 2015 Scheme pension will be revalued as if during the gap in service you were an Active Member (i.e. revalued in line with CPI+1.25% per year) but as if you received no Pensionable Earnings.
If you once again become an Active Member of the 2015 Scheme after a gap in service exceeding 5 years, the pension you accrued under the 2015 Scheme before your gap in service will be a Deferred Pension and will be revalued in line with CPI each year from the date you began your gap in service.
For the purposes of the Final Salary Link (used for calculating benefits under the 1987 Scheme or the 2006 Scheme), service under the 1987 Scheme or the 2006 Scheme will be taken to end when you began your gap in service, therefore you are strongly advised to check with us if you believe this may affect you.
You become a Deferred Member if you have at least two years of Qualifying Service and:
If you re-join the police force or opt back in within 5 years then you will become an Active Member again. Otherwise you will remain a Deferred Member. Unless you transfer your 2015 Scheme benefits to another pension scheme, or a deferred pension comes into payment early, you will receive a Deferred Pension at your SPA.
A Deferred Pension will be increased in line with CPI under the Pensions (Increase) Act 1971 from the time that you leave the police force or opt out until the date at which your benefits become payable.
Please see the examples tab above for an example of how your deferred pension benefits will be calculated.
A member leaves the police force at age 50 with an accrued earned pension of £20,000 per year. When s/he leaves, his/her accrued earned pension will increase in line with CPI under the Pensions (Increase) Act 1971 and will be payable at his/her SPA)
Assume that by the time that s/he reaches SPA his/her Deferred Pension has increased under the Pensions (Increase) Act 1971 by 40%. The member will therefore be able to retire at SPA with a pension of around £28,000 (= £20,000 × 140%).
At retirement, the member has the option to commute pension for lump sum at a rate of £12 of lump sum for every £1 of pension given up. The commutation lump sum cannot be larger than 25% of the value of the ppension.