DEVON and Cornwall police officers who were offered compulsory retirement will accuse the force of age discrimination at an employment tribunal. Along with a number of other forces, Devon and Cornwall police has required a number of police officers to retire in response to widespread funding cuts.

The Star understands a total of 86 former officers who have retired since April 2011 will bring claims of indirect age discrimination against the force at the tribunals involving four other English constabularies in February and March.

The action is being taken by the Devon and Cornwall Police Federation, which represents all officers up to the rank of superintendent.

Under rule A19 of the Police Pensions Regulations 1987, the force was empowered to offer compulsory retirement to officers who have served 30 years or more. It has since suspended such action.

A spokesman for the force said: "Under Regulation A19, only officers who have already qualified for a full, two-thirds pension can be required to retire in this way.

"These steps were taken in order to maintain and improve police services in Devon and Cornwall.

"Devon and Cornwall Police has at all times acted in accordance with legal advice and is vigorously defending the claims.

"A number of officers also made a separate claim against the force that it had failed to properly consult with them prior to relying on A19 to compulsory retire them from the service.

"This claim has already been turned down by an employment tribunal in a separate hearing."