Career Break Scheme 

The Police Negotiating Board (PNB) agreed a career break scheme in 2000 – PNB Circular 2000/16 (Advisory) and Home Office Circular 4/2001 refer. The provisions can now be found in Regulation 33 and Annex OO of Police Regulations 2003.


A career break of up to five years is available, subject to increases in exceptional circumstances. The scheme is available to any member who has completed the probationary period, subject to the agreement of a human resources’ professional, with the right of appeal to the Chief Constable. Members on career breaks under this scheme remain a member of the force, so there is no break in service. They will not be paid during career breaks and the time out will not count for entitlement to pay increments and paid annual leave. The officer’s rank and pay point, and eligibility for replacement allowance will be protected.

A member living in accommodation provided by the force should discuss his/her future in the property with the chief constable before applying for a career break.

Career breaks and pensions

Officers remain members of the force whilst on the career break scheme and therefore they also remain members of a police pension scheme. However, this would not be the case if an officer were to resign and rejoin.

For a member entitled to full transitional protection, as long as s/he is on the career break scheme, the career break will have no impact on the full transitional protection i.e. the member will return to his/her current pension scheme when s/he returns from the career break.

However, no adjustment will be made for members on tapered protection who take career breaks under the regulatory scheme. This means that if a member was entitled under tapered protection to remain in the Police Pension Scheme (PPS) 1987 or the New Police Pension Scheme (NPPS) 2006 for two years from 1 April 2015, his/her protection would end on 31 March 2017, even if the career break was taken for some or all of the 1 April 2015 – 31 March 2017 period.

Officers remain subject to their pension schemes’ death benefits and enhanced illhealth pension provisions whilst on a career break. All officers continue to be covered by the injury benefit provisions where applicable.

The time spent on a career break does not count as pensionable service and cannot be bought-pack for pension purposes - see Home Office Circular 33/2003.

Produced and issued by Research and Policy Support PFEW HQ - updated August 2016

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