Balls slams ‘blunt instrument’ cuts to police

By Peter Wozniak

Ed Balls has lambasted the coalition over plans to force some officers to retire in an effort to make savings.

The shadow home secretary’s attack comes a day after it emerged three police forces are being allowed to implement a regulation which can enforce retirement for officers with thirty years service.

Mr Balls reserved most of his ire for the coalition, arguing the cuts had place police chiefs in an “impossible position”.

“Not only is the Home Secretary cutting police funding by 20 per cent, she is also making the biggest cuts in the first two years,” he said.

“That will make it impossible to protect frontline policing by making long-term efficiencies.”

Sworn police officers cannot be made redundant, but the rule of “required retirement” is set to be increasingly employed in an effort to push through savings.

The shadow home secretary added: “This blunt instrument was never intended for this purpose and, where implemented, will mean all officers above the thirty year threshold being forced to retire.

“It will mean losing some of our most experienced people from the police service.”

The Home Office insists that the implementation of the regulation was up to the individual police forces rather than a directive from central government.

Although cuts to the police are less than for the Home Office as a whole, Mr Balls argued they have frontloaded to such an extent that public safety will be threatened.