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LIB DEM CHALLENGER TAKES UP FIGHT AGAINST POLICE DISABILITY PENSION CUTS

April 23, 2009 8:16 PM

Plans by Northumbria Police Authority to make sharp cuts in entitlement to disability pensions for retired police officers, has been slammed by a leading Liberal Democrat.

Greg Stone, Parliamentary spokesman for Newcastle East, said it was disgraceful that officers forced to retire because of injuries suffered in the line of duty were being treated so badly.

New rules introduced earlier this month will see entitlement for retired officers who have suffered injuries in the line of duty scaled back sharply.

The Government introduced a discretionary rule change in 2004 allowing police authorities to amend entitlement for retired officers who have passed the age of 65.

Northumbria is the only police authority in the region to have implemented the changes to such a degree.

Other forces including Durham, Cleveland, and the Met have not adopted this ruling.

It is understood that hundreds of pensioners may be affected.

Greg Stone said: "I have been contacted by a constituent who was injured in the line of duty suffering serious neck problems.

"He has been retired on health grounds since 1987, but has now seen his entitlement slashed and his pension reduced by nearly £800 per month.

"This is causing him and his family serious concern.

"I am horrified that police officers who have had to retire due to injuries suffered on duty are being treated in such a hard-hearted way.

"I am particularly concerned that the decision to reduce pensions appears to have been taken without any medical assessment.

"I have written to the chair of the police authority asking for his views on why Northumbria has taken this line when others have not.

"I have also asked for a review of my constituent's case and would invite other affected pensioners in Newcastle East to contact me."

Greg Stone added: "I recognise there is pressure on public sector pension funds, but I am appalled that injured police officers who are now retired are bearing the brunt of such mean-spirited cuts. I am sure the public will feel likewise."