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May 20, 2009 5:16 PM

Newcastle East Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesman Greg Stone has again called for Northumbria Police Authority to justify its decision to amend entitlement to disability pensions for officers injured in the line of duty.

Having first raised this issue in April, Greg wrote to the chair of the Northumbria Police Authority, who is also the leader of Gateshead Council, Councillor Mick Henry, but several weeks later has yet to receive a substantive reply.

Simultaneously, affected pensioners, many of whom are facing significant cuts in their annual income, are not having telephone calls returned by the authority.

Greg Stone said: "I believe this is a very serious issue. Firstly, I think the retired police officers who are being affected by changes to the pension system deserve a proper explanation of the reasons for the change, combined with a reassessment of their eligibility.

"Secondly, I think that the wider issue is one of legitimate public interest and one which the authority needs to respond to in order to justify their decision.

"I am concerned by suggestions that retired officers are not being kept informed about changes which Northumbria are adopting despite the fact that other nearby forces such as Durham and Cleveland are not. Certainly I am disappointed not to have received a substantive reply from the chair of the police authority other than a brief 'holding' response.

"The authority cannot just stick its head in the sand when confronted by difficult questions."