UK - Grampian Joint Police Board is calling on the Scottish Government to establish a national police pension fund to avoid schemes having to plug deficits from their policing budget.

In a vote, the members of the Board agreed to finance 50% of its £1.143m shortfall from its overall policing budget, while the remaining 50% would be funded by the three related local authorities, Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire and Moray.

The solution put forward by Martin Greig, a councillor for Aberdeen City and convenor for the Grampian Joint Police Board, was agreed after treasurers of the local authorities voiced "grave concerns" over being asked to fund 100% of the shortfall, as Aberdeen City Council in particular is one of the lowest funded authorities in Scotland.

Greig said the motion was passed in a vote of 12-2 with support from all three authorities, although he said the decision was taken on an emergency basis and the Board would not like to be in the same position next year.

"This is the first time a shortfall has ever happened, and we're actually looking at a [national] shortfall of between £52-55m next year, and we don't know how this has come about. We had to make a decision, as we can't ignore the shortfall, and this was the best solution as it shared the burden across the public sector," said Greig.

Grampian is the first of the eight police boards to meet on this issue, as there is a national police pension shortfall of around £17m, although Greig warned the Board had reacted on an emergency basis and did not want to be in the same position next year.

As a result, the Board has written to the Scottish Government, continued Greig, asking them to establish a "proper police pension fund" instead of each force having its own pension arrangements.

He suggested the scheme could be similar to the way the local government pension fund is run, as he believes a "central fund which is properly and carefully managed" in this way would have "many advantages".

"We would have major problems next year with a shortfall of £52-55m, so we have asked the Scottish Government to look into this problem and to find a solution to avoid having to do this again next year," said Greig.

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