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Sussex Police announce review on controversial forced retirement rules
Long-serving police officers facing forced retirement could be spared under new proposals. Sussex Police will recommend to the Sussex Police Authority that rules which force officers to take compulsory retirement after 30 years service be withdrawn from September.
Thirty new officers will also be recruited at the beginning of next year it was announced today. The controversial rule – Police Regulation A19 – was introduced last year as the force looked to make £52 million of cuts by 2015.
Commander of Brighton and Hove Chief Superintendent Graham Bartlett was among the 53 officers who would have been forced to retire if the rules had remained in place for the coming year.
Critics, including crime writer Peter James, said the rule meant the loss of the most experienced officers in the force and was a waste of the investment in years of training. Marion Fanthorpe, director of human resources, said because of savings made elsewhere Sussex Police has reduced the number of officer posts it needs to axe from 500 to 400.
Staff posts have also been reduced from 550 to 450.
She said: “It is with regret that we have had to lose a number of excellent officers, however it has been crucial for us to be able to make the necessary level of savings needed by 2015, given the rates of natural turnover of police officers.
"Along with faster than expected progress on making savings, we have also found higher levels of savings from areas other than direct post reductions than we originally anticipated.
"In light of this progress Sussex Police is proposing to the SPA that the force is in a financial position to end the use of regulation A19 from end of September 2012.
"We still have a long way to go to find all the savings we need, however it is good that we are now in a position to take these two positive steps."
The new officers will be selected from 98 candidates Sussex Police has kept in a recruitment pool.
They are expected to start by May next year.