Cuts mean 600 police officers forced to retire

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The Independent Online

More than 600 police officers are being made to retire over the next three years because their force needs to save £78 million.

West Midlands Police Authority said up to 630 officers would be affected by its decision to implement regulation A19, which allows officers to be forced into retirement after 30 years' service.



Enforcing the regulation from the end of March next year will see 273 officers retire. The force anticipates at least another 350 officers retiring in the following two years.



In a statement, authority chairman Bishop Derek Webley said: "This was a very difficult decision, and one we took with great reluctance.



"However, the current financial position requires us to take this step, in the interest of the efficiency and effectiveness of the force."



Bishop Webley described a funding settlement the force received from the Government earlier this week as "much worse news" than the authority had hoped for.



"The settlement for 2011-12, which requires us to save £40 million, is difficult but achievable but 2012-13, where another £38 million is required, will be much more challenging," he said.



"We and the force will take great care to ensure that the reduction in operational capability is minimised.



"Keeping the people of the West Midlands safe and reducing crime remain top priorities. However, the cuts, especially in 2012-13, will be very hard to cope with and I want to make sure that the public understand the scale of the challenge we face."



A statement issued on behalf of Birmingham's Labour MPs said the decision was a "bitter blow" for West Midlands Police and the people its serves.



The MPs' statement said the cuts would mean fewer officers on the beat, diminishing the force's ability to prevent crime, solve cases and protect the public.