- Part of:
- Law and order
Remarried partners of officers killed in line of duty will now keep pensions.
Widows and widowers of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty will now receive their deceased partners' pension for life even if they remarry or move in with a new partner.
This announcement puts an end to the previous system where some widows or widowers of officers killed on duty lost their partners' pension if they remarried, formed a civil partnership or moved in with their new partner.
The Scottish Government confirmed that the changes would also apply to those husbands, wives or civil partners of police officers or firefighters killed in the line of duty who have already had their pension withdrawn. They will be entitled to payment of their pension again from today.
Improvements to public service pension schemes are not generally applied retrospectively. However this change reflects the Government's gratitude to the small number of police officers and firefighters who make the ultimate sacrifice in protecting our communities.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said:
"Our police officers and firefighters do an outstanding job but that can often mean putting their lives in danger to protect our safety.
"It is simply not right that the loved ones of those who have given their lives to protect our communities are denied what is rightfully theirs and, while improvements to our public sector pensions are not usually applied retrospectively, today's announcement reflects our thanks to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
"I am committed to ensuring the Scottish Government reinstates this entitlement to those eligible as soon as possible and I have asked the Scottish Public Pensions Agency to take the necessary action to implement this change quickly."
Scottish Police Federation Chairman, Brian Docherty, said:
"The Scottish Police Federation welcome today's announcement as it rights a long-standing and historic wrong for police widows and widowers.
"We are particularly delighted that the Government has gone further and agreed to reinstate previously withdrawn pension for those who lost loved ones but were fortunate enough to love again later in their lives."
Fire Brigades Union Executive Council Member for Scotland, Chris McGlone, said:
"The Fire Brigades Union welcome today's announcement by the Scottish Government that they will reinstate pensions to those who had it removed simply because they remarried.
"The FBU know this announcement will be welcomed by widows/widowers/civil partners of firefighters killed in the line of duty and would urge those in authority to implement the effect of this decision as soon as possible."
The 1987 police and 1992 firefighter schemes do not provide lifetime awards for widows/widowers/civil partners. Those pensions are withdrawn on remarriage, civil partnership registration or cohabitation. New police and fire schemes were introduced in 2006 as part of reforms made to public service pensions. Both schemes provide lifetime awards for widows/widowers/surviving civil partners. This change was not applied retrospectively to the 1987 or 1992 schemes.
Further information on how those eligible can claim will be issued by the Scottish Public Pensions Agency in due course and available on the SPPA website www.sppa.gov.uk.