A tribunal has ruled that Nottingham’s policy for police officers below chief officer rank to retire after 30 years’ service is unlawful.
Five police forces including Nottinghamshire, West Midlands, Devon and Cornwall, North Wales and South Wales, could face paying out millions of pounds after 250 officers who were forced to retire won an age discrimination claim.
Nottinghamshire Chief Constable Chris Eyre said: “It was necessary for the police authority to consider the use of regulation A19 as a result of the wide ranging austerity measures affecting public services.
“This was a very difficult decision for the Authority and one which was taken after extensive consultation with officers who had 30 years’ pensionable service and the relevant staff associations.
“Had there been other viable alternatives the Police Authority would not have made the difficult decision to implement A19.”
Almost 100 officers left the force between April 2011 and March 2012 when the force introduced A19.
The hearing, in London, heard evidence from ACO Margaret Monckton, former ACC Ian Ackerley and former Police Authority chairman Jon Collins. It also heard from four former Nottinghamshire officers who were made to retire.
A panel of three employment tribunal judges found that the use of A19 was “not a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.”
Constable Eyre, said: “This has been a lengthy hearing during which all parties involved have had an opportunity to explore the complicated legal issues that surround this regulation and the particular circumstances of each of the forces involved in the litigation.
“Prior to A19, along with other forces, we sought expert legal advice and from the very outset were confident our use of the regulation was lawful and fair.
“We note the decision of the employment tribunal and need some time to consider our position going forward. We are actively considering an appeal and therefore unable to comment further at this time.”
The forces have 42 days to appeal against the decision.
Mr Eyre has also written to all officers, staff, Specials and volunteers, following the ruling.