POLICE are to push ahead with plans to force officers with 30 years or more service into retirement, despite opposition from county officials.
Northamptonshire Police Authority yesterday agreed to defer the power to use the controversial Regulation A19 to the Chief Constable Adrian Lee.
Mr Lee has said the power to force long-serving officers to retire will help Wootton Hall bosses to make the huge savings required by swingeing central funding cuts over the next four years.
Currently police officers cannot be made redundant, and with Northamptonshire Police expected to have to cut around 20 per cent of its budget by 2015, Mr Lee has argued the move will provide a way of reducing police numbers.
Mr Lee told a meeting of the police authority he was keen to implement A19 as soon as possible despite concerns from Northamptonshire’s Police Federation, the organisation that represents rank and file police officers.
He said: “I think in fairness to the federation they would prefer us not to go ahead with A19 at this time. But our financial situation is such that we would like to start using this now.”
The police authority, which met yesterday, was told there are 45 officers who will pass 30 years’ service before March 2012. Of those, 27 have indicated they would be happy to take early retirement.
Northamptonshire Police is one of a number of forces across the country to seek legal advice about using A19 and was told A19 would break age discrimination legislation unless a ‘fair’ procedure was drawn up.
Mr Lee added: “Over the next four years we will need to reduce police numbers and this is one thing we can use. We need to come back to the authority with a fair procedure, and we will do that.”
He said a procedure will be drawn up alongside the authority.