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A specialist police force who protect the UK's nuclear sites including Sellafield have lost their High Court challenge over a new pension scheme which could make them work until they are 65.
The Civil Nuclear Police Federation (CNPF), which has 1,250 members, said that the change, due in April, would leave the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) "out of step" with the vast majority of other officers.
At a hearing last week, which was contested by the Civil Nuclear Police Authority (CNPA), it asked for a declaration that the CNC were "members of a police force" for the purposes of the Public Service Pensions Act 2013 and their pension age must be 60 like most other officers.
But, in London today, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies dismissed the claim.
It's being described as a massive step towards cleaning up one of the most dangerous buildings at Sellafield.
The second of six giant doors arrived at the nuclear site this morning.
Once installed the doors will allow scientists to access waste which dates back to the 1940s - when the site's purpose was to make material for nuclear weapons:
This is a very big milestone in what we do. Just getting to this point, seeing us physically putting up the equipment to retrieve this waste because this is one of the highest priorities here at Sellafield. It's a critical mission not just for Sellafield, for Cumbria but for the whole nation in order to get this waste into safe stores.
The Civil Nuclear Constabulary has given their statement regarding the High Court ruling, where the Civil Nuclear Police Federation is seeking for the retirement age for its officers to be set at 60.
"The Civil Nuclear Police Federation (CNPF) has brought a Judicial Review into whether the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) is a police force as defined under the Public Service Pensions Act 2013.
“The Judicial Review will rule on this very specific point of statutory interpretation in relation to the Public Service Pensions Act 2013 and this ruling will provide clarity on the situation, allowing us to continue to develop new pension arrangements for CNC officers in accordance with the Public Service Pensions Act 2013, working closely with relevant government departments and the CNPF."
The Civil Nuclear Police Federation are in the High Court seeking a ruling for its members to retire at the normal police retirement age of 60.
The Federation say that working past the age of 60 would be "almost physically impossible".
Representing 1250 police officers, many who work at Sellafield, the Federation is asking the High Court to determine whether or not its members are "members of a police service", and therefore entitled to the same retirement age as the rest of the UK Police service.
If refused, officers could serve until 65 and eventually to 68 in line with Government policy for public service employees.
"As yet we have been unable to get a decision from Government to accept our professionally supported argument that it is almost physically impossible for a CNC officer to serve beyond 60. What seems not to be understood is that our members are fully trained authorised firearms officers. The high standards of physical fitness and weapon proficiency are mandatory throughout a career in the CNC and are increasingly difficult to maintain as officers age.
"It makes no sense that we should be saddled through inappropriate legislation with a retirement age which we have little or no hope of reaching. Neither can I believe that the public will feel protected if eventually we have aggressively armed police officers in their mid-sixties being deployed against terrorists."
Specialist nuclear police have launched a new project to deal with potential terrorist threats to Sellafield.Read the full story ›
The nuclear plant has confirmed plans to protect the site from any possible terror attacksRead the full story ›
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has taken over the running of the Sellafield site's clean up operation in a non-commercial contract.
The site had been owned by private sector consortium Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) which was previously criticised for large overspends and long delays.
The change will allow Sellafield Ltd to progress its hazard and risk reduction and decommissioning, in order to deliver it more efficiently.