Surrey police officers forced to retire to cut costs

Police officer Surrey Police Authority authorised the move at a meeting on Thursday

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Surrey Police has become the first force in England to make some officers with more than 30 years service retire in a bid to cut costs.

The savings measure has already been backed by police authorities in North Wales and Strathclyde.

Surrey Police Authority authorised the move at a meeting on Thursday.

Surrey Police has been ordered to cut its wage bill after the government said funding would fall by 20% over the next four years.

Under regulation A19 of the Police Pensions Regulations 1987, police officers can be "required to retire" if their retention would "not be in the general interests of efficiency".

'Hard choices'

Papers submitted to the meeting recommended the authority to implement Regulation A19 for officers who had reached 30 years of pensionable service and who were of the substantive rank of inspector up to chief superintendent.

Start Quote

The reason I recommended it to the police authority is that we have to make some hard choices today”

End Quote Chief Constable Mark Rowley Surrey Police

The authority was also recommended to agree that the force uses Regulation A19 for the next three years.

Before the meeting, Surrey Police issued a statement which said: "It is clear from the government's recent Comprehensive Spending Review that hard choices will have to be made if we want to maintain and increase the number of constables on Surrey's streets.

"Measures such as invoking Regulation A19 and beginning the disposal of some police buildings will mean we can continue to prepare for the operational challenges ahead."

The Chief Constable of Surrey Police, Mark Rowley, said it had been a difficult decision.

'Naked ageism'

He told the BBC: "The reason I recommended it to the police authority, though, is that we have to make some hard choices today.

"The public would expect me to do everything I can do to organise the force in a way that there's as many officers on the front line, visible and accessible, doing what they want them to do.

"This decision is about protecting that because we're only applying it to inspectors through to chief superintendents."

The Age and Employment Network said police plans for enforced retirement amounted to "naked ageism".

Chief executive Chris Ball said: "Those who will be affected, by definition, will be in their late 40s or 50s and still have a great deal to offer."

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