11:20am Monday 20th February 2012
GWENT police officers will be forced to retire after 30 years’ service as part of cost cutting plans, it was agreed.
Members of Gwent’s police authority “reluctantly”
agreed the plans, which were put forward as part of wider proposals to bridge a £13.3 million funding gap by 2014/15, at a meeting on Friday .
The scheme, known as A19, aims to reduce the number of police officers from 1,453, to 1,333 by 2015, saving £4,587,672 if none were replaced.
It will give the police authority the power to forcibly retire officers below the rank of chief officer of police, deputy chief constable and assistant chief constable, who have worked for 30 years.
Members heard 69 people would be affected over the next three years, 13 officers are affected now, and ten more will be affected in the next six months.
This includes eight superintendents/ chief superintendents, six chief inspectors, 21 inspectors and 34 sergeants.
As well as saving money, the move will allow the career progression of officers who, despite being qualified, cannot be promoted until higher ranking posts are available.
A staff survey, in which 504 people took part, showed 45 per cent were in favour, 46 per cent were against and nine per cent were undecided.
Chief Superintendent Paul Symes and chairman of the Gwent police federation Jeff Mapps expressed their concern over the proposals.
They fear they would discriminate against age and race, as most of those affected are older white men, and worry the force would lose valued experience and knowledge.
Members shared their concerns and heard how there are currently 22 legal actions against forces which have implemented the proposals.
Chief Constable Carmel Napier said the decision was very difficult but the force could not make the necessary cuts without it.
Members agreed the plans with ten votes in favour and two against.
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