Forcing Notts Police officers to retire was ‘lawful’

A tribunal has ruled that Nottinghamshire Police forcing workers to retire after 30 years’ service was lawful.
Stock picture of a police officer on the beat to go with story about levels of fitness among Lancashire police officersStock picture of a police officer on the beat to go with story about levels of fitness among Lancashire police officers
Stock picture of a police officer on the beat to go with story about levels of fitness among Lancashire police officers

The Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales and the Police Federation brought action against Nottinghamshire, along with four other forces - Devon and Cornwall, West Midlands, North Wales and South Wales – challenging its legality.

Almost 100 officers left Nottinghamshire Police between April 2011 and March 2012, during which the force introduced legislation A19, as part of challenging austerity measures affecting public services.

An employment tribunal held last year heard from four former Nottinghamshire officers who were made to retire because of A19.

It also heard evidence from former Assistant Chief Officer Margaret Monckton, former ACC Ian Ackerley and former police authority chairman, Jon Collins.

The tribunal found that as a result of using regulation A19, the forces had breached age discrimination laws, however all five forces challenged this decision. Today the employment appeal tribunal has not upheld the original decision, finding that the use of A19 was lawful.

Chief Constable Chris Eyre said: “From the outset we had sought expert legal advice and were confident our use of the regulation was lawful and fair.

“This has been a lengthy process 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.

“It was a very difficult decision which resulted in us losing some very experienced, committed and able police officers.

“We knew that this would have a significant impact on people who had dedicated themselves to serving this force and the people of Nottinghamshire for many years, but we felt there was no viable alternative to meet the enormous financial challenges we faced then, and continue to face.

“As an organisation we are continuing to make really difficult decisions about reshaping the force, which has already seen officers leaving policing and several members of police staff leaving the organisation as a result of redundancy.

“We are operating in a very difficult financial landscape, and we have to do all we can to balance the books, while seeking to maintain an efficient and effective service.

“We welcome the findings of the appeal tribunal which has not upheld the original finding that deemed the use of regulation A19 unlawful.”

Police and crime commissioner, Paddy Tipping said: “It has been a difficult process and I am pleased that it has been resolved and makes the financial position of Nottinghamshire Police more secure.

“However, I do recognise the distress and difficulty this caused the officers involved”.

Nottinghamshire Police Federation chairman, Phillip Matthews, said: “Having backed the officers taking the case we are obviously disappointed at today’s judgement going against the original employment tribunal decision. We will of course be discussing today’s decision with the legal team involved to fully inform those concerned.”