The partners of gay police officers will be given pension benefits for the first time, according to a new scheme announced yesterday.

In a landmark move by the police force, officers in same sex or unmarried relationships will be allowed to nominate a partner to receive half their pension after they die, even if they are no longer together at the time of death.

Legislation currently only grants pension rights to spouses who don’t remarry or live with someone else, now the benefits will go to same sex civil partners, and unmarried individuals in gay or straight relationships, for life.

Policing minister, Hazel Blears told the Daily Mail that the changes reflected modern society and were driven by a huge rise in costs of the existing scheme due to an increase in life expectancy.