Following the abolition of the default retirement age, most people have the right to choose when they wish to stop working.
But due to a law which would be seen as age discrimination in any other industry, police officers who have served for 30 years or more face the possibility of being forced to retire.
In fact police officers are more likely than ever to fall victim to this because of the budgetary cuts. Nearly a third of the country’s police forces have used the regulation to retire experienced officers.
The law is pensions regulation A19 and it states that police officers can be given compulsory retirement once they have given 30 years pensionable service.
The ‘ageist’ law causes controversy
It is a controversial law and many believe the country could be losing some of its best officers. Paul McKeever, Chairman of the Police Federation said: “It’s completely inappropriate as it’s not what A19 was intended for in the first place. We are losing some of our most experienced officers en masse.”
However there are others who say the regulation could help police forces as the current economic climate is putting them under huge pressure. The fact is that not even the police have survived the Coalition cuts and forces all over the country have to lose both front line officers and civilian office staff.
Devon and Cornwall lose 20% of officers
The Devon and Cornwall police force have to lose 20% of its officers. Their HR Director Chris Haselden said: “The bottom line is that you can’t make police officers redundant and can only lose officers out of the workforce at the rate they choose to leave. A19 is the only mechanism we have got over and above natural wastage.”
Mr Haselden said that of the officers that would be made redundant using A19, half would have been thinking about retirement anyway. The other half would not prefer to continue but at least they receive a generous payout that far exceeds that of the civilian police staff.
This sort of ‘best before date’ attitude does seem to be very unfair on police officers who have given their life to their job. It does not apply to any other people in different walks of life.