Police widows hand deliver roses of remembrance to MPs ahead of debate in Parliament
A delegation of police widows will today call on Government to honour its commitment to widows and widowers of police officers.
This is a significant day for police widows and widowers throughout England and Wales whose lives have been overshadowed by 1987 Police Pension Regulations which means they cannot keep their pensions for life should they remarry or cohabit, and not have their pensions reinstated. Today their cause will be debated in Parliament with the support of Richard Graham MP.
The debate has been triggered by a campaign spearheaded by Cathryn (Kate) Hall, who is seeking to bring about a change in legislation to reinstate the pensions of those affected.
Kate, whose husband died on duty, has been campaigning tirelessly for a change in police regulations to enable police widows and widowers to keep their pensions for life, regardless of whether their relationship status changes after the death of their police officer spouse.
Kate was just 24 when her husband Colin, 40, collapsed and died after having a heart attack while working as a police dog handler for West Midlands police after being called to a disturbance at a block of flats in 1987. Their daughter Kelly was four at the time.
After Colin’s death, Kate met her new partner, John, in 1994 when she enrolled in a college to improve her job prospects to support herself and her daughter. In 2001, they decided to live together as a couple, resulting in the loss of Kate’s police pension.
Kate’s daughter, Kelly, is now 31 and wishes to marry her partner, but the young couple cannot afford to do so.
Kate’s campaign is supported by the Police Federation and the National Association of Retired Police Officers (NARPO) and both believe we have a moral and public duty to ensure all police widows and widowers are provided for their lifetime.
Alex Duncan, from the Police Federation’s national committee said:
“We welcome today’s adjournment debate on the important matter of police widows’ pensions, which comes as a direct result of the tireless campaigning by Cathryn Hall, and the letter written to all MPs by the Police Federation Chairman, Steve White, just before Christmas. Richard Graham MP is right to highlight this issue in Parliament; an issue which causes much misery and hardship for many families left behind when a police officer dies on duty. The current legislation is a double punishment for many widows and widowers, forcing them to choose between a lifetime of love and newfound happiness or a future of financial hardship. That is morally wrong, grossly unfair and this needs to be put right.”
Clint Elliot, Chief Executive of NARPO said:
“NARPO are supporting Kate’s campaign and we will continue to fight for a change to this outdated restriction which leaves police widows with the unenviable choice between a future relationship and financial security.
“We hope the Government will lead the change that improves the position for our widow members and all police widows throughout the UK.”
Police officers often place themselves in the way of harm to protect others. This sometimes results in injury and sadly on too many occasions, officers make the ultimate sacrifice, leaving behind families and loved ones.
Should the most awful thing happen, police officers need and deserve to know that their survivors' benefits are payable for life, irrespective of whether they remarry or form a new partnership.
The Adjournment Debate will take place in Westminster Hall, 11.00-11.30am on Wednesday 25 February 2015.