UK-The government has moved to reduce the incidence of early retirement though ill-health in UK police forces as part of its programme of police reform.

It has secured the agreement of the Police Negotiating Board (PNB) to find ways of reducing the numbers of “medical retirements”.

Medical retirements last year accounted for almost a third of all police retirements in the UK. In some forces the figure is considerably higher. Two in three retirements in the South Wales police last year were for medical reasons .

The PNB is the statutory negotiating forum for police pay and conditions and represents all the main police organisations, including the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Association of Police Authorities, the Police Federation, as well as government ministers.

The Home Office said the PNB has agreed, in principle, to find ways “to deliver a fair and more consistent approach towards early retirement due to ill health, so that forces can ensure wherever possible the retention of officers in service where they are still capable of undertaking sufficient duties to justify continuing employment.”

The PNB wants to ensure that, where possible, police officers are rehabilitated for duty rather than retired on ill-health grounds.

A PNB working party will agree detailed amendments and additions to police regulations and guidance during the year.

The government signalled its intention to tighten up on medical retirements in its white paper Policing a New Century, published in December. The paper’s proposals form the basis of the Police Reform Bill, published today.

Measures to reduce medical retirements are not contained in the bill, however, since they do not require primary legislation, a Home Office spokesman said. He said that if legislation is needed, the government will seek it.