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The squeezed middle – 80% of police officers are aged 31 to 50

The squeezed middle – 80% of police officers are aged 31 to 50

🕔02.Jul 2013

The notion that police officers are getting younger has been blown apart in the West Midlands where the force has conceded that its uniformed establishment is dangerously middle aged.

Three years of austerity, which has meant no recruitment of school and university leavers, as well as a compulsory redundancy policy for the over-50s, means that 80 per cent of the region’s police officers are aged between 31 and 50.

Only 16 per cent of 7,744 uniformed officers are under 30, while just six per cent are over 50.

And with very limited recruitment of new officers unlikely to start much before 2015, the force’s squeezed middle is certain to get even larger.

This year a further 152 officers are expected to be subject to what’s known as the A19 rule. This forces retirement on anyone who is over 50 and has served more than 30 years. Next year, a further 101 officers will fall foul of the A19 procedure.

The result, police chiefs have conceded, is a gradual drain of highly experienced officers who are not being replaced at the bottom end by bright graduates.

The A19 ruling was reluctantly enforced by police commissioner Bob Jones as a means of saving money to address huge cuts in government grant. The force has to find £152 million between 2010 and 2015, almost a third of its budget.

More than 1,700 police officers are expected to lose their jobs during the five year period, and a similar number of civilian staff.

The police officers that remain employed face an additional pressure later this year.

They will be required to undergo a new fitness test, which was recommended by the Winsor Review last year and approved by the government.

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