Metropolitan Police boss rejects early retirement plans

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Forces need to cut wage bills to meet government saving demands

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner has said he is unlikely to adopt plans to make staff retire after 30 years branding the policy a "blunt tool".

North Wales, Strathclyde and Surrey police authorities have all backed the cost-cutting plan in principle.

Sir Paul Stephenson said having looked at it they had "brushed it off" and hoped they did not have to use it.

He said he wanted to keep those with 30 years of service or more to help provide security at the Olympics.

Speaking at City Hall, Sir Paul said the London force faced a huge challenge in making the 2012 Olympic Games secure and would need the "accumulated experience and ability" of many officers.

Fully sworn officers cannot be made redundant, but regulations state that they can be "required to retire" after 30 or more years' service.

But Sir Paul said: "We have looked at it. We have brushed it off and it is there in the tool box, in essence, in case we did have to use it, but I rather hope we won't.

"We have got a whole bunch of people over 30 years' service and I want to retain them for the Olympics, often I would pay them more. There are people under 30 years who I would rather send home on occasions.

"I certainly hope to avoid such a blunt tool. We are going to rely on a huge amount of accumulated experience and ability to deliver a safe Olympics."

Potential cuts

His comments came as the force is being examined as part of the government's Spending Review, with senior officers pledging to protect frontline services.

The full implications of the spending review deal are expected to be made clear next month.

Sir Paul refused to rule out reforming safer neighbourhood teams, including potentially cutting the number of community support officers and sergeants.

He added that a study of the "investigative process" could see cheaper civilian staff replace officers and detectives if it is shown to deliver results.

Sir Paul also denied there were plans to cut the number of sergeants running safer neighbourhood teams by half, about 300 officers.

But he said "supervisory ratios" were under the microscope and he believes "management costs are too high".

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