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Policy forcing police officers to retire debated today

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 28, 2012

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The controversial pensions clause used to forcibly retire Devon and Cornwall Police officers so the constabulary could achieve Government budget cuts is to be discussed later today.

The force's use of the measure – known as A19 – is on the agenda for the final full meeting of the Devon and Cornwall Police Authority, which is being replaced by the new police and crime commissioner in November.

Members of the authority reluctantly approved the use of the clause in 2010, saying it was the only way the force could achieve cuts of some £50 million by 2015. The number of officers is being reduced by around 700 to 2,800.

However, the issue is due for debate again today, albeit behind closed doors, following a review which was ordered in March. While the debate will take place in the absence of the press and public, the decision on whether to continue with the policy, or abandon it, is expected to be announced.

Today's is the last full meeting of the authority, with elections for the new post of police and crime commissioner due on November 15.

Former police officer Brian Blake will stand for the Liberal Democrats while Lib Dem councillor Brian Greenslade, once Devon County Council leader, is to stand as an independent.

Former Lib Dem Devon County councillor John Smith – who resigned from the party two years ago – has also put forward his name as an independent. Tony Hogg, the former commander of RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall, has secured the Conservative Party nomination, while Plymouth councillor Nicky Williams will contest the election for Labour.

The commissioner, who will be paid £85,000, will control the police budget and have the power to hire and fire the chief constable, who will continue to run operational policing.

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