Final legal submissions are being made in a long-running police age discrimination employment tribunal involving former officers from Devon and Cornwall.

Officers took action against the force after the former Police Authority decided in 2010 to invoke the pensions clause "Regulation A19" to forcibly retire officers after 30 years' service.

The measure has since been dropped but, at the time, Devon and Cornwall Police said it was the only way the force could save the £51 million budget cuts imposed by the Government.

The tribunal, which also involves officers from Nottinghamshire, West Midlands, North Wales and South Wales, finally got under way in February of this year. It reconvened in London, yesterday to hear legal arguments from both sides.

The action has been backed by the Police Federation, the staff association which represents constables, sergeants and inspectors. Sergeant Nigel Rabbitts, chairman of the federation in Devon and Cornwall, said they were looking forward to the cases being decided.

"It has taken a long, long time," he said. "Peoples' lives and livelihoods have been on hold waiting for the result."

Devon and Cornwall Police Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer appeared before the tribunal in London in February. Mr Sawyer admitted A19 was "indirectly discriminatory" on grounds of age and that legal advice was taken to make sure its use was "justified".

A victory for the officers involved could have major financial ramifications with some seeking a return to work and others compensation.

However, their hopes were dealt a blow in the summer when a High Court judge ruled A19 was lawful. The Police Superintendents' Association had sought a judicial review after the three of its members, employed by Bedfordshire Police, were made to retire.

Article from This Is Cornwall