Dozens of police officers in Brighton and Hove may be forced to retire after completing 30 years’ service as Sussex Police tries to find annual savings of £52 million.
Up to 260 officers across the county face the possibility of being forced to retire after 30 years after a decision was reached by Sussex Police Authority yesterday afternoon (Thursday 26 May).
Some 60 could be asked to retire in the coming four months.
Officers cannot be made redundant and the natural turnover rate has almost halved in the past two years, Sussex Police Authority was told yesterday.
But with 84 per cent of the force’s annual budget being spent on officers and staff, it would be impossible to make the savings without a smaller workforce.
The force has identified the need for estimated reductions of about 500 police officers and 550 police staff by 2015. Already more than 300 police staff have left under a voluntary severance scheme.
The force imposed a recruitment freeze last year.
And, in combination with officers retiring or leaving for other reasons, it was initially hoped that this would lead to reductions in line with the estimates.
However, as the rate of turnover has fallen, the force will not be able to meet its workforce reduction target.
The rule that allows officers to be told to retire after 30 years’ service is Police Pensions Regulation A19.
Chief Constable Martin Richards said: “Requesting to use Regulation A19 was a very difficult and reluctant decision.
“I do not welcome the prospect of any officers being required to retire through no fault of their own and undoubtedly neither will many of them.
“However, the police authority’s approval was essential if we are to deliver our plans for effective and sustainable policing.
“Doing the right thing for the people of Sussex isn’t always easy.
“There have been and there will continue to be tough choices that will directly affect the thousands of people who work for the force and the 1.5 million people we serve, who must remain at the forefront of our decisions.”