MORE than a dozen senior police officers are to mount a legal challenge over controversial powers that forced them to retire.
A total of 18 officers have lodged claims with the Employment Tribunal accusing West Midlands Police of age discrimination.
The officers are among 273 so far been axed under controversial retirement rules once they reached 30 years of pensionable service – even if they want to stay on.
Despite the challenge, police chiefs are to ask for the A19 ruling to be extended into next year as they try and balance the force’s budget in the face of swingeing Government cuts. A report on the A19 regulation to be discussed by the West Midlands Police Authority next week has revealed that 13 officers, either superintendent or chief superintendent ranks, have lodged the claims backed by the Superintendents’ Association.
Five other officers lower-ranked officers have independently lodged similar claims of discrimination.
The cases have been stayed at the request of the officers pending a Court of Appeal ruling due next month over the compulsory retirement of an employee of a Primary Care trust.
“The Superintendents’ Association believe the outcome of the case may be helpful in their challenge to the use of A19,” the report added.
“The force believes, despite the challenges that have been lodged, that the use of Regulation A19 is fair and that it meets the long term operational, planning and budgetary requirements of the Force.”
According to the latest figures 175 officers were forced to retire in the last financial year and the regulation has been applied to a further 98 officers since April. A further 78 will have to go by next March.
A further 89 officers have decided to leave the force, higher the number than anticipated.
However, the force has recommended to the Authority that the application of the Regulation is allowed to continue into the next financial year to help contribute a further £9 million towards the £126 million budget shortfall the force is faced with over four years.
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