Several police officers have won age discrimination claims after being forced to retire early.
The five police forces responsible could now have to pay out millions of pounds in compensation.
Test cases were brought on behalf of 250 officers. They lost their jobs under regulation A19, which allows forces to forcibly retire any officer under the rank of Chief Officer who has been with the force for 30 years or more.
The regulations state that it is possible to do this “in the general interests of efficiency”. However, the court heard that the officers were let go in order to meet budget requirements rather than any lack of efficiency on their part.
The panel of three employment judges said that the five chief constables had failed to use the regulation as “a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”.
Graham Cassidy, the national secretary of the Police Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales, said: “We obviously are delighted with the decision by the employment tribunal and we note that it was a unanimous decision by all of the judges.
“However this is not a time for triumphalism. There are no winners here. Each of these five test cases represents a police officer at the peak of their service, all of them receiving outstanding annual appraisals for their performance, who were cast aside as a result of what we now know to be an unlawful application of A19.”
The police forces said they were considering an appeal.
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