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Police Shouldn't Retire Just Because They're 55

Police Shouldn't Be Retired Just Because They're 55

Friday 3rd Sep 1999
Patricia Schnauer
Media Release -- Justice

Parliament is being asked to support an amendment to the Police Act that would reduce the discrimination against Police officers who are currently forced to retire once they turn 55.

Patricia Schnauer, ACT Spokesman for Police, said she will ask MPs when considering the Human Rights Amendment Bill (No. 2) at present before Parliament, to also approve an amendment to the Police Act.

Mrs Schnauer said it was absurd that the Police were now required to observe the Human Rights Act when employing someone, but that Government prevented them from doing so when it came to retiring that person.

"At the present time the Police Commissioner has the discretion to look at Human Rights matters in exercising his discretion to extend a member's service from year to year up to age 60.

"The problem is the Police Commissioner has interpreted the legislation narrowly, forcing many good sworn officers out of the force.

"Given the current bevy of high profile operational needs like APEC, the millennium celebrations and the America's Cup, not to mention particular criminal investigations or community activities, the recent loss of experienced senior staff through restructuring, and Government's recent need to provide extra sworn Police, there is good basis to retain any fit and able sworn member of Police.

"For every Police officer who is forced to retire earlier than they choose, the taxpayer is forced to incur unnecessary expenditure in training a replacement.

"Research indicates that the real "retirement" issue for New Zealand is being able to keep good and fit employees in the workforce to support the ageing population, not the ability to remove dead wood.

"The Commissioner will already know by means of required fitness tests and performance appraisals that the officer is fit and able to continue in the job, so all this amendment does is clarify for him that he must consider human rights issues in exercising his discretion to retain staff who want to stay on," said Patricia Schnauer. ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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