I have just commented on this subject in a previous link that was posted back in July but feel it needs a new heading for clarification and reference purposes.
I believe I have sufficient knowledge and experience of the Police service to offer some guidance for Police officers and support staff that are considering proposing a form of insolvency, IVA or bankruptcy. It is evident over the past few years that more and more Police officers are now considering insolvency as a way of resolving their debt issues therefore it is important that they follow a certain procedure to safe guard their jobs.
My firm has clients in more than 80% of the nation's Police Forces as well as in the Prison, Fire and Rescue, and Ambulance Services, M.o.D, and in other public service departments.
Over the past 15 years I have been involved with many Police Officers, overseeing both IVAs and bankruptcy and my work involves direct contact with welfare units, federations and Professional Standards Departments.
On occasions I do presentations to Police forces on debt and consumer related issues within the service as well as speak at the National Association of Police Welfare Advisors conference.
Earlier this week I was at a Police function when I had occasion to speak with a board member of the Police Federation of England and Wales about the issue of Police officers going bankrupt or proposing an IVA.
The bottom line is that any individual can propose an IVA or petition for bankruptcy and generally keep their job.
What the officer or support staff member should do is explore all the options available to them and when they have selected the one that best suits their needs they should contact their Professional Standards Department, PSD informing them that they are considering proposing a Debt Management Plan, an IVA or petition for bankruptcy.
Often the response from PSD will be ‘we are so pleased you let us know rather than we found out from somewhere else’. I have known officers to transfer to other squads within 12 months of being in an IVA.
There are some circumstances, whether you agree or not, whereby an officer will not be allowed to transfer between forces until the IVA nor bankruptcy has completed, usually 3 years from the date of bankruptcy.
In some forces the Chief Constable will make the decision about whether the officer can keep his or her employment and it is very rare for the officer to be dismissed for financial matters.
I also advise officers that have come up for vetting (examination of their finances and general status). Some have been put on ‘gardening leave’ for a couple of weeks to enable them to seek advice about their debts. During this time the officer will need to demonstrate that professional advice has been sought and that they are seen to be doing something about their debts.
What the ‘job’ looks for is that the officer is in control of his or her debts and is open, honest and cooperative about resolving their issues.
I am due soon to speak with the Police Federation in more detail about this and will be happy to post further should the need arise.