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Huge disappointment at forces’ A19 ruling appeal

imageA group of police forces are appealing against a ruling that stated their use of the A19 retirement regulation was not “proportionate”.

Hundreds of officers from Nottinghamshire, West Midlands, Devon and Cornwall, North Wales and South Wales Police, who were made to leave their jobs in the wake of the budget cuts, won a case that they were indirectly discriminated against because of their age. But now the forces are appealing against the ruling – with a pre hearing on 9 May.

An employment tribunal in London in February ruled that the forces’ use of Regulation A19 to make officers with 30 years of service leave in the “interests of efficiency” was “not a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”.

As a result the forces could face paying millions of pounds in compensation to the former officers affected.

However, after taking legal advice, the group of forces have said they have “grounds for an appeal” against the tribunal’s ruling – although Nottinghamshire Police said it did not know how long the appeals process would take.

The ruling was made on behalf of 250 officers who were made to retire under A19.

It said the “practice of requiring the retirement of nearly all officers” eligible under A19 – which includes all those up to the rank of chief superintendent with 30 years’ service – was not proportionate.

Following the tribunal ruling, Nottinghamshire Police Federation secretary Mick Taylor had said the case for the officers had been “vindicated”. They will now need to wait and see if the ruling is overturned.

Chris Eyre, chief constable of Nottinghamshire Police, said the use of A19 had to be considered “as a result of the wide-ranging austerity measures affecting public services”.

He said the decision to force officers to retire had been “very difficult” but there were no “viable alternatives”.

Last year, the High Court ruled the use of A19, which is part of the Police Pensions Regulations 1987, was lawful.

Nigel Rabbitts, chairman of Devon and Cornwall Police Federation, said: “We are very disappointed that they are putting public money into defending something which we don’t think is defendable.”

Date posted: March 27, 2014

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