â€˜Surprisingâ€™ mix of short and long service officers granted voluntary departure from service, Fed says.
A group of Staffordshire Police officers have become the first in the country to have their applications for voluntary severance from the Police Service approved.
The 24 officers are now working their three-month notice and will leave with a severance package of one monthâ€™s pay for every year of service, up to a maximum of 21.
As previously reported on PoliceOracle.com, the Home Office approved a voluntary exit scheme for officers for the first time in the history of the Police Service in January, which forces can choose to adopt.
Andy Adams, Chairman of Staffordshire Police Federation, said he understood his force was the only one to date to adopt the scheme.
Mr Adams added: â€œWe supported it. It gives officers the opportunity to say they would rather leave and do something else if they want to. Of course, itâ€™s still a matter for the force whether to allow those who apply to leave.â€
He added he was â€œsurprisedâ€ by the mixture of officers with long and short service who are among those leaving. They included an officer with 28 yearsâ€™ service.
The group is understood to be largely made up of constables and sergeants but also includes some members of the inspecting ranks and a superintendent.
Initially, 20 officers were approved for the voluntary exit scheme but four who are currently on a career break had their applications approved later.
Mr Adams said the force had roughly 1,800 officer posts and was trying to cut this to 1,750 as part of its efforts to cope with budget cuts. He said the voluntary exit scheme was introduced in the force after a consultation with groups including the Fed.
He believed the severance scheme was a preferable way of cutting officer numbers to the â€œblunt instrumentâ€ of Pension Regulation A19, which allows for the compulsory retirement of officers with 30 yearsâ€™ service.
In a statement, Chief Constable Mike Cunningham, who is also national policing lead on workforce development, told this website that the scheme was devised after â€œextensive consultationâ€.
He added: â€œThe force introduced a voluntary exit scheme for police officers in May. It is based on Winsor Review recommendations and came about following extensive consultation with staff and staff associations.
â€œThe scheme aims to give greater flexibility and choice to officers who are considering leaving the service to pursue a new career. It means that officers with less than 30 years service can apply to leave the force early.
â€œLast week, the forceâ€™s Establishment Panel approved 20 applications for voluntary exit which had been submitted since early May.
â€œThe 2013 scheme will run until the end of this month and any further applications will be assessed at this time. We will then reopen applications again for one month in March 2014 and annually thereafter.â€
Voluntary severance: First officers to go (Â£..)