Re-employing retired cops is good; re-employing retired teachers is bad


Below are the words of Lord Morrow of the DUP made during an Assembly debate: 

We hear constantly of police officers retiring, picking up their redundancy package and, in a very short time, being back in the policing service. Were there not a large pool of young graduates and ably qualified officers ready to take up those posts, that might be all right. That is another challenge for the Minister. He should take a long, hard, serious look at police officers who retire and immediately re-enter the policing system. When there is a pool of able and capable police officers waiting to take up posts, it cannot be right by anyone’s standards.

Substitute the references above to police officers with teachers and you have the authentic version of Morrow’s speech. As Ian Knox’s excellent sketch in today’s Irish News highlights, retired police officers have collectively signed off with packages that have amounted to nearly half a billion pounds (something which makes unionist complaints about the £190 million spent on Saville sound rather churlish.) 

Having taken a firm stance against the re-employment of retired teachers who have been re-employed by schools, the DUP have taken a completely different stance with regard to the re-employment of former police officers. One rule for some and all that….. 


  • sonofstrongbow

    Of course no police officer retiring under the Patten scheme can be reemployed in a policing role anywhere in the UK ( should they be so employed they forfeit their Patten severance payment): but hey, why let the facts get in the way of a punchy strapline?

    Retired police can be employed as support staff within the police service. I’m sure similar opportunities are available to retired teachers, or anyone else for that matter. Should retired teachers wish to remain within the education department perhaps they should consider applying to become janitors or school secretaries?

    As to the packages offered to retiring police officers, these were in lieu of their contracted careers being truncated (and no not redundancy as the posts were themselves not surpressed rather they were transferred to new applicants), early payments of pension lump sums and where qualifying the pension itself (a final salary scheme – just like teachers; although police officers personal salary contributions were + 11%).

    The entire package could not exceed the total amount an officer could have earned if their service had continued to normal retirement – calculated at contemporary pay scales. Of course in effect early retiring officers are financially less well off than they could have been given that the Patten calculations did not take account of potential future overtime earnings and future pay increments that they would have been entitled to if they had been allowed to complete their police service.

    That being said I expect most were happy to kick the dust of the PSNI off their shoes and get the hell out of it.

  • Drumlins Rock

    The key phrase is “Were there not a large pool of young graduates and ably qualified officers/teachers ready to take up those posts, that might be all right.” some would say such a pool does not as yet exist in the PSNI, whereas it does with teachers, there also is the factor of a much larger reduction in the Policeforce in comparison to the education sector which removed a much greater proportion of experienced staff than the teaching scheme.
    The root of the matter is the need for either reduncy scheme was wrong, but regarded as a necessary evil, compromises like these will always have repercusions and complications, they are inheritantly unfair by nature.

  • Cynic2

    Police officers were paid off because SF demanded they should be.

    Having defeated the IRAs campaign they were clearly too embarrassing to have hanging around and, anyway, the police didn’t need as many staff any more.

    “Its a new beginning” SF cried to their own captive audience who, I assume like CD, swallowed it whole. Strangely that new beginning didn’t apply to those former terrorist murderers who quietly sashayed across into well padded seats in Stormont, or ‘wee jobs’ as Special Advisers in Non Departments. Such was the price of peace.

  • Mick Fealty

    I bumped into an old RUC man in GB recently. I used to work with him before he joined up in 1981. He’s now doing some consultancy with the PSNI, but as Sonof points out, he was not let go under Patten.

    Not all old RUC men were let go under that scheme. Many stayed on to bed in the new crop and only left when retirement came. The fact they happen to be old RUC men makes them no less reliable than other cops, whatever the spin.

    I sense a touch of what Paul might call, demogogic simplification (

  • Chris Donnelly

    “some would say such a pool does not as yet exist in the PSNI,”

    Drumlin, I must have imagined all of those public statements from unionist politicians claiming that 50:50 recruitment was preventing ably qualified potential police officers from being recruited into the police service.

    The focus of the thread is on the transparently obvious contradiction between how the DUP want former police officers and former teachers treated following their receipt of generous pension settlements.

    A welcome new beginning has been made to policing, with the promise of a police service replacing the RUC.

    There are now former RUC officers in many walks of life, as indeed there are other former combatants. That’s clearly hard for you to take.

    Can’t really help you there, I’m afraid, but if giving off about it on Slugger is therapeutic, then who am I to stop you?

  • michael-mcivor

    When 50 50 recruitment was in full swing those old timers who re-joined the p.s.n.i after their pay-off could have knocked out a lot of protestant youth who were trying to join

    The x police used up the numbers for those youth-

  • Chris Donnelly

    The fact they happen to be old RUC men makes them no less reliable than other cops…I sense a touch of what Paul might call, demogogic simplification.

    I sense a touch of ‘Nothing to see here….move on’ about that response.

    A straw man assault if ever I saw one.

    You might have a particular empathy with former RUC members which I don’t share, but in the context of this thread it is barely relevant.

    There is a clear contradiction between how some are making the case for cutting off re-employment opportunities for retired teachers within education and yet supporting the re-employment of former police officers within policing.

  • Drumlins Rock

    your backing up my point Chris, 50/50 could also have played a part in reducing the suitibly qualified pool of recruits, prolonging the need for outside expertise.

  • Chris Donnelly

    It doesn’t back up your point in the slightest because you are still conceding that the DUP (and probably UUP) position with regard to retired teachers contradicts that in relation to retired police officers.

    The suitably qualified pool of recruits argument might work with a ‘friendly’ audience, but the very reason why the Patten reforms were implement related to the fact that attitudes towards the RUC and their ‘policing’ ethos and practices varied considerably (and that’s putting it mildly….)

  • Mick Fealty

    My bad Chris (that will teach me to read the post rather than just dumbly respond to other commenters).

    But, here’s one back at ya. There is a huge supply of qualified teachers coming out of Stran, Queens, UU and St Marys. If the best employment rate is 80% at St Mary’s then it stands to reason we have an oversupply of young teachers.

    It doesn’t work like that with the cops. If there’s not a job, you don’t get the training. Thus when Police budgets tighten you cut supply immediately. Then there’s a proper case to be made for creating flexibility by bringing in old cops.


  • “and, in a very short time, being back in the policing service.”

    Chris, I can see the comparison you’re trying to make but have you done your research? Are you not confusing redundancy and retirement?

    “In a statement to the BBC, the PSNI said it currently uses the services of 399 staff supplied by a recruitment agency. .. BBC link

    I wonder how this impacts on ‘community demographic’ statistics.

    There are indeed strange ‘facts’ in the PSNI statistics – including the current claim that there are 2 student officers.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It’s even weirder that there’s a 0.75 of a chief inspector somewhere. I hope at least we get the arms and legs.

  • Pigeon Toes

    Hmm dealings with some * cold case” inquiry members would lead me to the conclusion, that it’s not their most capable ex-team whom they’ve redeployed.

  • sonofstrongbow

    I see some still persist with the lie that police officers retired under the Patten severance scheme are reemployed as police officers. This is simply not true. The scheme bars retired officers from applying to become police officers anywhere in the UK. If they do apply they forfeit the Patten severance. Now is that too difficult to understand.

    Retired police officers, in common with anyone else, can apply for civilian jobs within policing. These are known as support staff. Take the example of a fingerprint analyst. Years ago all fingerprint analysts were police officers, gradually civilians were employed in this role (to accede to political demands to get police out of “back offices”).

    So a retired police officer qualified in fingerprint examination sees a job advertised looking for fingerprint analysts. Should they be debarred from applying, or should the post be given to someone less qualified simply to keep an ex RUC officer from ‘tainting’ the PSNI?

    Again, and to bring it back to teachers, a retired teacher sees a job as a classroom assistant and applies: how does that differ from the retired police officer scenario (other than the overlay of blatant bigotry against ex RUC obviously)?

  • Cynic2

    “That’s clearly hard for you to take.”


    You keep imputing views and motives to me that I don’t have. I don’t object at all to former terrorists moving on – I would support it. What I do object to is the hypocrisy of criticising those who get jobs as support staff in the police while at the same time installing bombers and murderers in £80k jobs at Stormont in non-Departments.

    Now that is SF policy – the policy of grievance. I understand the basis of that – they have have led their community into a Stormont dead end as the only alternative to total utter military defeat. They lost the war and are trying to pretend that they sagely negotiated this brilliant peace in the interests of everyone when in fact the UK, Irish and Americans built the pen and gently shepherded them into it.

    Oh and by the way the Unionists are just as bad. The net result is that we get the sham fight at Stormont where they all sit on their big old plough horses waving fake sabres at each other and dressed up in political uniforms inherited from the 18th Century.

    As for me, I want NI to move on. think its great fun watching these childish manoeuvrings and waiting for the point when the electorate wakes up to the fact that their schools, water supply, environment, employment and childrens’ futures are all being damaged by it. It will be great when the horses have to be put out to grass, the sabres go rusty ad the political uniforms are so moth eaten that they fall off

    So I am afraid its not me that hasn’t moved on but the party you love. Indeed that love at times I would suggest leads you to a myopic adulation. You seem quite intelligent at times. I am sure you can cope – just take off the party issue green tinted glasses and prise out that Dubliners CD that is jammed in the stereo and give it a go. Otherwise you just look desperate to score points

  • Turgon

    A major difference between teachers and police officers is training pre and after employment.

    A teacher is typically trained for four years. At that point they are fully ready to teach. They may become more skilled at teaching as they go on and may well become a better teacher. They may become a senior teacher and even head teacher. However, until they become a head teacher they do essentially the same job. As such there is an issue about teachers taking early retirement etc. and immediately returning as teachers, hence, resulting in younger teachers not getting jobs.

    The contrast with the police is considerable. A fully trained police officer may be ready to become a police constable and do those jobs. However, a police officer can then become a detective, dog handler, family liaison officer etc. etc. All those jobs are very different to one another and different to what the police officer starts as. As such newer recruits may not be ready to take on certain functions and in a situation where we have lots of relatively new police officers we may need to bring in outside expertise which may indeed come from former officers supplying consultative etc. functions.

    Furthermore the police force is more hierarchical than the teaching profession. Sergeants and inspectors and superintendents do different jobs from one another and different jobs to constables. Since it takes time to “grow” more senior officers if one has lost lots of more senior officers then one may have a skills gap which one needs to bring in outside (former employee) expertise for.

    A good analogy would be the medical profession. If we had a scheme whereby say lots of consultant surgeons left early we might have problems with complex operations and need to employ them back as consultant consultants if one sees what I mean. It would probably be foolish to ask newly qualified doctors to perform complex heart operations. Equally it is probably foolish to ask new police officers to perform at the level of experienced detectives.

    To come back to teaching. If we lost lots of maths teachers (to choose a topic close to Mr. Donnelly’s sphere of interest) we could not simply employ history and english teachers to make up the numbers. We might need to employ some of the old maths teachers until such time as we had enough new maths teachers trained.

    As it stands we have lots of young newly qualified teachers of various sorts without jobs and as such employing older retired teachers does deprive a younger person of a job. We do not, however, have lots of young newly qualified Detective Sergeants and Inspectors without jobs (because they do not exist). Hence, if we need experienced detective typed skills we have to bring back in the people who have these skills: the ones who left under Patten; until such time as we have trained the newer police officers.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Mick and Turgon
    We are many years into Patten now so there have been many opportunities to provide newly trained and more junior officers in new positions. Indeed, it has been a recurring complaint from primarily unionist politicians that the 50:50 recruitment policy meant that many ably qualified individuals were not being brought into the PSNI.

    For the record, the very same arguments are used by school principals for seeking to employ retired teachers as are being put forward as reason to allow retired police officers to return to the service- difficult classes require skilled pair of hands, as do exam classes or special needs support positions.

    Of course there’s logic in there, but it can’t be denied that such an approach does little to open up employment opportunities for others at a time when retired professionals on a pension are considerably better positioned financially than those seeking their first steps on the ladder.

    It still comes down to the fact that younger- and less qualified personnel- are being denied opportunities to skill up and gain the experiences if the practice is allowed to continue within either teaching and/ or policing.

    btw Turgon- I am a qualified Politics and History teacher plying my trade for the past decade in a primary school, co-ordinating assessment and maths throughout the school. So there’s nowt wrong with making up those numbers…;>

  • Cynic2


    You may be an expert in teaching but clearly not emplyment law.

    Jobs are advertsied with Person Specifications and the rules on public appointmnts say that the best person should get the job. It may be that ex police officers are best suited to fill some roles in the police – as I might expect ex teachers maight be for some roles in schools.

    If they are and the selection process is fair then those ex cops will be appopinted to the jobs on metit To do other wise would be discriminatory. Should anyone try it I am sure many of thsoe underemployed HR lawyers out there would point out that they could whip up a good legal challenge on grounds of:

    political belief
    racial origin

    All they need is a good comparitor!

    So sorry Chris, this isnt like appointing SpAds in Stormont where the only criterion may be who you know and how many years you spent inside