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“A19 ruling could sway May’s compulsory severance decision”

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The court victory by hundreds of police officers on the A19 forced retirement ruling could impact the Home Secretary’s decision on compulsory severance, it has been warned.

Nick Smart, chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, said there may be an “unintended knock on effect” from the decision by three employment tribunal judges that the use of A19 was “not a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”.

A number of test cases were taken to tribunal on behalf of 250 officers who were pushed out amid 20% budget cuts.

Police Federation members from Nottinghamshire, West Midlands, Devon and Cornwall, North Wales and South Wales Police brought the claims, as well as more senior ex-officers who are in the Police Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales (PSAEW).

Hundreds of officers were made to leave their jobs and claimed they were indirectly discriminated against because of their age.

They were compelled to retire under Regulation A19, which was taken to mean that those below chief officer rank could be required to retire after 30 years ”in the general interests of efficiency”.

Mr Smart said: “We are still awaiting a decision from the Home Secretary regarding compulsory severance.  If A19 is no longer a blunt option regarding reducing officers numbers, then signing off on compulsory severance may now not be so straight forward.

“We await to see if she will honour the decision of the Police Arbitration Tribunal, but the A19 ruling may have a detrimental and negative effect for the rest of us serving officers regarding compulsory severance.  We will see.”

The Home Office has refused to confirm when Home Secretary Theresa May will make a decision on compulsory severance.

While the Police Arbitration Tribunal ruled in December that compulsory severance should not be introduced for police officers, a final decision still lies in the hands of Mrs May.

Date posted: February 10, 2014

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