Notts Police has been slammed by an employment tribunal for forcing nearly 100 officers to retire early.
Former officers won their claim today (Wednesday 5th February 2013) that they were victims of ‘indirect age discrimination’.
The hearing deemed that the force had unlawfully used regulation A19 to require officers with more than 30 years’ pensionable service to retire.
Almost 100 officers left Notts Police between April 2011 and March 2012 when A19 was in introduced.
But the Police Federation and the Police Superintendents Association of England and Wales challenged its legality and use by five police forces - Notts, Devon and Cornwall, West Midlands, North Wales and South Wales.
Rebian Solicitors, who represented the officers at the tribunal, said in a press release:
“We are pleased to confirm that the employment tribunal has today “unanimously found that the use of Regulation A19, requiring the retirement of our clients, was not a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.”
“Our clients’ claim for indirect age discrimination has succeeded and we believe the decision of the employment tribunal is absolutely right and vindicates our clients’ complaint of the treatment they received at the hands of their respective force.”
“The Forces gave little or no concern or consideration to the individual officers, whose long- serving careers were abruptly brought to an end.”
A spokesperson said although their clients were ‘delighted’ with the outcome, their untimely dispensation from the force has had a ‘lasting impact’ on the officers.
The hearing also heard evidence from Notts Assistant Chief Officer Margaret Monckton, former Assistant Chief Constable Ian Ackerley and former Police Authority chairman Jon Collins.
Notts 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.”
“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.”
Mr Eyre has also written to all officers, staff, Specials and volunteers, following the ruling.