Law free essay: Police pensions and their affect on public safety
Police pensions and their affect on public safety
Pension simply refers to a plan that involves transferring part of the current employee income or financial benefits to the future so that they will be provided to the beneficiaries after retirement. A comprehensive pension plan involves an agreement between an employer and an employee, in which both or one of them sets aside some funds to be used upon retirement by an employee or the entitled beneficiaries (Muogbo, 2013). There are several categories of pension plans, as it will be discussed later in the paper. Pension is one of the employment benefits that are usually offered by employers to employees, in addition to others such as protection plans, medical insurance, child vouchers and savings. Although it has other functions, it has been found to be one of the key approaches that can help to motivate workers or to enhance their engagement to the assigned responsibilities. As such, pensions can be used to enhance motivation of public service workers such as police and to enhance their commitment to their work (Muogbo, 2013). This paper suggests that the use of pensions can help to enhance commitment of police to their work and ultimately, lead to an improvement in public safety. The paper presents an approach that will be implemented to determine the effectiveness of the strategy in enhancing public safety in (New York). Firstly, a problem statement is given, followed by an objective statement. Further, the paper gives a summary of the alternatives for police motivation that were considered, an analysis of the alternatives and the alternative that was selected for implementation. In addition, the paper describes how planning for implementation will be carried out. Lastly, the paper explains the monitoring and evaluation strategies that will be applied.
Numerous studies have shown that employee motivation is one of the key strategies that enhance the level and quality of their output. Muogbo (2013) carried out an analysis of different previous studies that have focused on the impact of employee motivation on the quality and level of their output. The researcher found various ways through which motivation contributes to quality and level of output. Firstly, motivation influences attitude of a worker towards his or her responsibilities and the overall job. Motivation enhances positive attitude of workers towards their jobs and specific tasks undertaken. In turn, positive attitude enhances their willingness to go an extra mile to implement the employer’s objectives and goals. Secondly, employee motivation enhances job satisfaction levels, which translates into commitment improvement. An increase in commitment enhances productivity of the workers. The study conducted by Muogbo (2013) showed that motivated workers usually feel comfortable when undertaking their tasks and are hardly pushed to undertake them. In most cases, such employees feel good when they achieve better results without being pushed to improve their performance. Also, motivated employees usually feel that they are valued by their employer. Consequently, they reciprocate to the feelings through working harder to impress the employer. Overall, motivation contributes immensely to the level of production and quality of output of workers. On the other hand, lack of motivation or de-motivation usually has various adverse effects on quality and level of output of workers. Employees who lack motivation usually have negative attitudes towards their jobs, are dissatisfied and are hardly committed to improve quality and level of output without being pushed by the employer. This leads to workers’ disengagement and ultimately, poor quality and low levels of output (Muogbo, 2013).
Workers are motivated through either giving them intrinsic or extrinsic rewards. Intrinsic rewards are those that are not visible or tangible, such as giving a complement to a worker who does quality work. On the other hand, extrinsic rewards are those that are visible or tangible, such as promotions, financial incentives, bonus and time-off. As mentioned earlier, pension is one of the financial incentives that an employer can use to motivate employees. There are numerous studies that have proved that the various strategies have a positive impact in enhancing employee motivation and ultimately, level and quality of output (Muogbo, 2013). However, studies are rare that focus on the connection between the two factors among public service employees working in public institutions. Most of the existing studies have been carried out in specific organizations where employment benefits are determined by the owners of those organizations. In addition, studies are rare that focus on the impact of pension, despite being one of the key benefits offered by employers. However, some recent studies have shown that among other employment benefits, pension is the most valued by the workers (Muogbo, 2013). The studies have shown that there is likelihood that pension will be more valued in the future. Also, studies are rare that focus on the impact of pension on public safety. Thus, there is a need for a comprehensive research that will focus on bridging the gap. This paper aims to bridge the existing gap through investigating the impact of improvement in pensions on motivation of police and the ultimate impact of the motivation to the level of output and quality of their services. In addition to this, the paper assesses how productivity will ultimately affect the safety of the public.
The key objective of the research is to understand how police pensions may affect public safety. This will be achieved through firstly assessing whether and how police are or can be motivated by pensions. If the police can be motivated by pensions, the researcher will also seek to determine whether motivation can enhance the level and quality of the services that they offer. The quality and level of output of the police will be determined through assessing whether there is a change in the level of public safety.
Prior to making the decision regarding the objective and goal of this research, there was a need for assessment of the available alternatives for motivating the police in order to enhance their productivity and ultimately, enhance public safety. The first motivational strategy considered was offering the police with monitory incentives such as increasing their salaries and wages and giving them bonuses in recognition for their extra efforts. The second strategy was empowerment of the police through allowing them to make their own decisions and to contribute to management decisions that affect their work. The other strategy considered was recognizing the creativity and innovative capacities of the police and allowing them to implement them in their work. Another option that was available was to offer the police with non-monetary benefits such as promotion, time-off and holidays. Another alternative was to offer the police with opportunities for improving their skills, such as offering them with opportunities for training and fostering a learning environment. The other option considered for motivating the police was to offer them with opportunities for enhancing their health, such as offering them with flexible working schedules, offering them with recreation facilities and avoiding overworking them. As well, there was a need to consider offering the police with working materials and tools that enhance their protection and safety, such as bullet proofs. The last option was to offer the police with employment benefits such as medical insurance, life insurance, pension, savings and protection plans.
The available alternatives were assessed before selecting one of them. Firstly, offering adequate remuneration is one of the key strategies that affect the attitudes of workers towards their job. Without satisfactory remuneration, workers feel that their efforts are not well compensated for. This leads to low morale and lack of commitment to work. In extreme cases, ability of the employer to attract and retain workers is reduced. Thus, it is one of the most important factors in motivating the police (Bratton & Gold, 2007). Despite this, police in New York already receive satisfactory remuneration that is commensurate with that of other public servants in the same job group. Empowering workers through allowing them to make and contribute to management decisions is vital in enhancing their participation in decision-making process. The strategy enables workers to feel that they are valued and that they have a hand in the decisions that are made. Also, the strategy makes the workers feel that they have a mandate to implement their own decisions, hence motivating them to work harder (Bratton & Gold, 2007). Despite this, the police service work is sensitive and orders have to be given by leaders in cases where public safety is threatened. However, there is a need for some consultations sometimes. Currently, consultation takes place between workers and leaders in police departments in New York, implying that the strategy is already put in place.
Recognizing the creativity and innovativeness of the workers and allowing them to implement them is vital since they feel that their talents and gifts are not limited (Bratton & Gold, 2007). They thus take that opportunity to explore their talents and gifts and to focus on improving their skills. Police in New York are already allowed and encouraged to apply their creativity and innovative skills in their work in ways that do not threaten public safety. Offering workers with non-monitory incentives that are meant to recognize their extra efforts such as praise, promotions, time-off and holidays is essential. The morale of a worker increases when he or she feels that his or her efforts have been recognized. This encourages further improvement in the future, leading to an improvement in productivity (Bratton & Gold, 2007). Despite this, the strategy is already implemented in the New York police department. For instance, a police officer who makes a great achievement usually qualifies as a candidate for promotion to higher levels. As well, it is vital for an employer to offer opportunities for workers to enhance their health and to avoid overworking them in a way that may be harmful to their health. Unless there are urgent and pressing cases to be solved, workers should not be overloaded with work or work extra time. They should be given ample time to rest (Bratton & Gold, 2007). The strategy is already implemented in New York police department. Police officers are given ample time to rest with their families and friends and are hardly overworked. When overworked, they are usually compensated with holidays to relax.
It is also important to offer workers with opportunities for training and learning. Doing so enhances their skills and thus, they feel that they are well versed with the job (Bratton & Gold, 2007). Currently, the police officers working in New York department are offered with training opportunities continuously in order to enhance their knowledge and skills in their work. Importantly, employers should always understand the risks involved in any job and implement strategies that are meant to reduce the risks and enhance the safety of workers. Employees can hardly be motivated to work in environments where risks are high and there are no ways of countering them. On the other hand, efforts by employers to enhance safety are likely to motivate workers to undertake their roles without worrying too much (Bratton & Gold, 2007). This is vital for the police since their job involves numerous risks, most of which are life-threatening. In New York, there are numerous effective strategies that have been put in place to enhance the safety of police officers. They are provided with updated and effective tools, including cars, guns and bullet proofs. Lastly, it has become quite imperative today for employers to offer employment benefits to the workers. Currently, the most common and most-valued benefit by the workers is pension. Pension plan gives a worker the notion that he/she will have sustainable income after retirement and will not struggle in old age. Thus, the contribution of an employer to pension plan is likely to motivate workers to commit themselves to their jobs (Bratton & Gold, 2007). However, as noted earlier, it is not clear whether pension is effective in enhancing the quality of services and level of productivity of police, even though they may be valuing it. More research is needed in that area.
The analysis of the different alternatives for enhancing police motivation and ultimately the quality of services they offer to the public indicated that all key alternatives have been implemented in the New York police department. Except offering of pensions, the rest of the alternatives are meant to motivate the police officers. However, this does not mean that there may not be need for improvement in those strategies. Unlike other strategies, the use of pension is hardly meant to enhance the quality of their work of the police officers. For this reason, the use of pensions will be the focus of this research. Remarkably, the kind of pension plan and the way it is agreed upon between an employer and a worker may either be de-motivating or motivating. There are different types of pensions that ought to be understood first. One of the common types of pension plan is occupational pension (Blake, 2006). In this type, a worker and an employer contribute either equal or varying amounts to pension funds. In some cases, an employer makes full payment to the pension kitty. In such cases, a worker is free to make additional voluntary contributions to the kitty. The second common scheme is personal pension, in which a worker makes personal contributions to pension kitty (Blake, 2006). In cases where an individual is employed by the government, the government makes some contribution to the personal pension. There are also stakeholder pensions in which the government contributes to occupational pension through general taxation, called state pension (Blake, 2006). As well, there is stakeholder pension that is available for all people who do not have the other types of personal pension schemes, known as stakeholder pension.
Police officers in New York are entitled to the state, personal and occupations pension schemes and already make contributions. An increase in their requirement for personal payment to one or more of the pension schemes may not be welcomed by the police since the approach would lead to a reduction in their salary. Even though the pension is meant to benefit them in the future, too much increase may lead to an increase in financial burden on them. On the other hand, an increase in government contribution to the pension kitty and a reduction of personal contribution is likely to reduce financial burden on the police and thus, they are likely going to welcome and support it (Blake, 2006). Even though the police can appreciate such a move, it is not clear whether the move may be a source of motivation to improve the quality of services they provide, leading to an improvement in public safety. Therefore, there is a need for implementation of a research to asses whether the move can ultimately enhance public safety.
Planning for Implementation
There are several activities that will need to be carried out during the planning stage of the project. Firstly, there will be a need to determine the appropriate approach for implementation of the project. For instance, one of the suitable approaches may involve reducing personal contribution to personal or/and occupational pension schemes for the police officers in New York and then increasing the amount contributed by the government to the schemes in the same margin as the reduction. In order to determine the most suitable approach, there will be a need for consultations with experts in public administration and leaders in the targeted police institutions where the implementation will be carried out. Importantly, the project will require adequate consultation and agreement with leaders in government institutions who are involved in determining and making pension payments for the police officers. They will be made to understand that the pilot project may be advantageous to the whole country and beyond if it proves to be beneficial. If they will agree to give out the funds needed to implement the project, it will be essential to agree with them on how the funds will be allocated. If government agencies decline to offer financial support, the support can also be sought from other sources, such as sponsors. Further, there will be a need to collect the opinions of the workers who will be affected in order to determine whether they are willing to support the project.
Seeking the required funds and support from the key stakeholders will be the most crucial step in the planning of the project. If it succeeds, the next step will involve determination of the scope of the project, a step that will involve determination of human resources required to implement the project and their skills and funds required for successful completion. The first two steps will be vital in determining the feasibility of the project. After determining the scope, the next step will be to create a project team, which should include people involved in the implementation as well as representatives of the key stakeholders. The project team will reassess the project and its expected outcomes and then come up with specific objectives and goals. The team will also identify specific tasks to be undertaken by specific individuals and their sequence. In doing so, the team will also asses the required timelines to complete tasks and make targets. In addition, the team will make assessment of additional resources that will be required to enhance successful completion of the project. Lastly, the team will prepare and submit a budget, plans and charter to the sponsors of the project and seek support in order to proceed with implementation.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Monitoring and evaluation of the project will be carried out during and after implementation in order to determine whether the expected outcomes are being met. Prior to the implementation, opinions of the police officers will be collected regarding their support for a change in the existing pension plans to plans that will lead to a reduction in personal contributions and increase in government contributions. Also, opinions of leaders in the targeted police institutions will be collected to determine how committed the police are to their job. In addition, information about level of public safety will be collected from police officers, their leaders and the public. The information will be collected frequently during and after the implementation process. There are several aspects that will be addressed during the monitoring and evaluation processes. Firstly, it will focus on determining whether the objectives planned are being met. For instance, monitoring and evaluation will be carried out to determine whether there is a change in level of motivation and commitment of the police officers, as well as a change in the level of public safety. Monitoring will also help to determine whether actual tasks being undertaken during the implementations are as per the plan. The differences in costs and budget, as well as between planned and actual resources usage will be evaluated frequently. Team effectiveness throughout the project will be assessed. Although minor monitoring and evaluations will be carried out frequently, major monitoring and evaluations will be done in various stages. Modifications will be done to the project in case of need.
Overall, employee motivation is one of the most important strategies that employers can use to enhance the productivity of their workers. There are numerous ways of motivating employees, which have been proved to be effective by numerous scholars. However, most scholars have not focused on the public service institutions. Importantly, they have rarely focused on the impact of pension on motivation and commitment in public service institutions. Jus like in other organizations and institutions, workers are likely to applaud a move that reduces their personal contributions to pension schemes and the reduced amount is contributed by the employer. However, it is not clear whether the move can enhance their commitment and quality of services they offer to the public, which affects level of public safety. Thus, the aim of the project described in this paper will be to determine whether such a move can enhance motivation of police officers to carry out their jobs more effectively, leading to an improvement in public safety.
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Muogbo, U. S., (2013). The Impact of Employee Motivation on Organization Performance. The
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