Police Officers Forced Retirement Claim Rejected

Devon and Cornwall

The Police Federation has brought a case against the Devon and Cornwall Police Authority after police officers were forced to retire after thirty years of service.

The case was brought after the force started using a pensions clause called Regulation A19 to compel some officers to retire.

The Federation has argued that police officers should be regarded as "workers" and therefore would need to be consulted before their contracts were brought to an end. However, the Devon and Cornwall police authority approved the use of compulsory retirement in 2010.

The decision to force police officers to retire after thirty years of service was taken in an effort to make savings of forty seven million pounds over the next four years. Unfortunately, in the pre-hearing review, Judge Latham ruled that police officers were not workers under the collective redundancies directive. As a result, the officers were not required to be brought within the scope of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1992.

The Devon and Cornwall police federation were upset with the decision. Nigel Rabbitts, the Chairman of the Federation commented on how "it again highlights the unique position police officers hold. It reinforces our claim that police officers cannot be treated the same as all other public sector workers."

On average there are eleven officers each month who are being forced to retire because of Regulation A19. Although Rabbitts accepted the fact that those officers who were retiring did receive a generous pension deal he added that they made greater contributions to it than most. Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said, "There are also clearly defined appeal mechanisms available to officers who may be subject to A19." Despite this, it is still recognised as a very sensitive issue especially given the commitments a police officer has made to the force commitments to the force.