Detective Inspector Ben Bullock, aged 49, was the only serving officer in the Metropolitan Police who was to face charges of neglect of duty in relation to the handling of the murder inquiry in 1993. He was second- in-command at the time of the investigation.
Det Insp Bullock, with 30 years' experience, should be able to claim an index-linked pension of about pounds 25,000 a year.
It also emerged last night that the Police Complaints Authority, whose report led to the disciplinary charges, was aware of the officer's action before it announced its decision on Tuesday.
Last night the Lawrence family reacted bitterly to the news that after the long haul for justice for their son, which has included a failed bid for a private prosecution, no police officer is to be held to account.
Last year Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, spoke out against the "unacceptably high" numbers of officers taking early retirement.
A number of miscarriages of justice and operational failures have ended without either criminal or disciplinary action against the police. Early and medical retirements and resignations have allowed officers to bow out without facing disciplinary processes.
Neville Lawrence, father of murdered Stephen, has called the PCA inquiry into his son's murder a "waste of time".
He said: "They can't seem to find it within themselves to come out and criticise in strong language that this is wrong and we have to find a way of changing it."Reuse content