With most public sectors being hit by swathing government cuts is it any surprise that retired and ex-police officers are being attracted back to the Police Service to provide managerial, specialist and investigative support on a consultancy basis?
This can hardly be a surprise to anybody, as crime is such a fluid issue. It can’t be easy striking the balance between too many officers and not enough. It only takes one or two major cases for the police service to struggle with demand. It’s not like you can train up investigators within a few days. Experienced and highly skilled retired and former officers are no different to highly skilled IT professionals, project managers or oil and gas engineers.
Doesn’t it also make financial sense for both sides? In the private sector i.e. the sector most driven by efficiency, companies have used consultants, contractors and contracts rather than bearing the full and long term cost of a surplus of fulltime highly paid qualified employees.
To be honest it’s been happening for years, one of the more high profile cases recently was the Jimmy Savile scandal which understandably saw the police struggling to cope. This investigation reportedly had over £240,000 allocated to the Metropolitan Police Service for them to hire ex-officers as consultants in dealing with the flood of Jimmy Savile claims raised, according to The Independent.
So if you are retired and used to work for the Police Service, how do you find work and what’s the best and most tax efficient way to work?
Finding work as a police consultant
In a recent poll by Bluelinejobs.co.uk the demand for former policemen has been noticed in the following areas:
- Economic crime
- Anti-money laundering
- Forensic accounting
- Physical forensics
- Large scale event security management
Some officers may decide to rejoin their old force, however if you would like to widen you search, we recommended trying the following recruitment agencies for ex police officials:
- Bluelinejobs.co.uk - The UK’s police and criminal justice community job site.
- Police Duty - Specialist website for retired police officer jobs and recruitment.
- Police Oracle - Police Oracle is the leading independent policing website in the UK.
- Policing Solutions - G4 is the world’s leading international security solutions group.
For more information on creating the perfect CV, visit our Contractors Career Centre, for hints and tips on;Writing your CV, Top 5 CV Tips .
Rates of pay for police consultants
This is difficult and is all based on supply and demand, we’ve seen rates as high as £1,000 per day all the way down to £100 per day. It all depends on what it is you’re doing, your particular skill set, attitude to travel, flexibility and negotiating skills.
Once you have secured your contract, your next step is to think of the most tax efficient way for you to work.
Typically a person would source a contract and then decide how they would like to work either via an umbrella company or through their own Limited company, if the latter, they would need to form a company, open a business bank account, appoint an accountant and start trading.
Limited company or Umbrella company?
Although trading through your own Limited company is the most tax efficient way of working, this isn’t always the best route for everyone. For example, if you have a short term contract (sub three months), which is less than £25,000 per year, it may be worth thinking about working through an umbrella company instead.
By working through an umbrella company, you essentially become an employee of the umbrella, which means that you pay the same contributions as a permanent employee plus also have employers National Insurance to pay which is 13.8% (2013).
By trading through your own Limited company you could potentially take home around 75% - 80% of your contract value - visit our contractor take home home pay calculator for a more accurate figure - whereas working through an umbrella company could mean that you only take home approximately 60% - 65%.
Limited company advantages
- Most tax efficient way of contracting.
- Access to the Flat Rate VAT Scheme – an incentive that can bring in additional income for those consultants that claim very few expenses.
- You have complete control over your financial affairs – no need to wait on a third party to retrieve your money.
- You can claim on a much wider range of expenses than if you were working through an umbrella company.
Limited company disadvantages
- There will be some paperwork involved, however, an accountant will be able to help you with this should you have any concerns or questions. This paperwork shouldn’t take up any more then 15-20 minutes of your time a month.
Umbrella company advantages
- Easy to use - you simply enter your time-sheet and expense details to the umbrella and wait to be paid.
- You won’t have the burden of filling out paperwork, and all tax and NI is automatically deducted before you receive your money, so you won’t need to worry about having to pay out any more for tax.
- Very helpful for those who are giving contracting a go for the first time, before entirely committing to the lifestyle.
Umbrella company disadvantages
- You will be relying on the umbrella to collect your money from the company and then pay this to you.
- As this type of contracting is very similar to working as a permanent employee, it is the most expensive way of contracting as you pay full PAYE, Tax and NI.
For more information on choosing which way of working is best suited to you, you may find our Thinking of Contracting for the first time? and Limited Company vs PAYE Umbrella guides useful.
How to set up your own Limited company
If you have decided to consult through your own Limited company, you will need to go through the following steps:
- Firstly, you will need to have your company name decided – you can check if your company name is available using our free company name checker.
- Then you will need to form your Limited company. This will take you no more than five minutes on RMI’s website with your company formed within a few hours. RMI’s company formation package is £125 plus VAT, which includes; help organising your company bank account, registering the company for VAT and PAYE and advice on the optimum share structure of your company.
- After forming your Limited company, your next step is to appoint an accountant.
It’s tempting to use a local accountant who is convenient to you, however they may not specialise in consultants. For over 20 years, RMI Accountancy have specialised in providing tax and accountancy advice to over 12,000 Limited company contractor, freelancer and consultant clients.
We offer an all-inclusive fixed fee accountancy package priced at just £95+ VAT per month. This includes:
- Preparation of company Year-End Accounts*
- Corporation tax computations
- Payroll bureau
- Dividend administration
- Dealing with Inland Revenue and Companies House
- Completion of VAT returns
- Completion of annual return
- Your personal tax return
- Free bookkeeping software
- Unlimited face to face meetings
- Access to your own dedicated accountant for all help and advice
Something that retired and ex-police officers might have in the back of their minds when considering a consultancy role is IR35 and whether there are any special rules that apply to them? Well, the good news is, the same rules that apply to IT contractors and other consultants contracting through their own Limited company, also applies to retired and former police officers - there is no special legislation that specifically penalises officers returning back to the force to provide consultancy.
Quite simply, as a police consultant you would be working under the same tax legislation as all other Limited company directors. For more information on IR35 please read the following plain English guide:Guide to IR35.
Our services are also supported by the reassurance of a money back service guarantee. To appoint RMI Accountancy as your accountants, simply complete our Become a client form.