Police forces to appeal decision on age discrimination case

An appeal has been filed against the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s (EAT’s) ruling that a regulation enabling police forces to compulsorily retire officers after they become entitled to a pension worth at least two-thirds of pensionable pay is not age discriminatory.

Police-EAT case-2015

The judgment in the case of Harrod and others v Chief Constable of West Midlands Police and others was delivered on 8 July 2015. In the case, the EAT overturned the employment tribunal decision that five police forces committed age discrimination when they liberally utilised the A19 rule, which allows forces to require police officers to retire once he or she is entitled to a pension of two-thirds of pensionable pay. This tends to occur after 30 years of service.

Police forces’ adoption of the A19 rule increased as budgets were substantially cut and the forces had to find new ways to cut expenditure, alongside traditional methods such as a recruitment freeze.

The EAT held that, while discrimination potentially occurred when the forces applied the A19 regulation to retire police officers, the tribunal had been wrong to conclude that the forces’ actions were not justified.

The EAT also stated that the tribunal had made a misguided attempt to propose alternative means of cost savings. None of the alternative means proposed had the required degree of certainty.

A total of 15 police forces in England and Wales have made use of the A19 rule.