Mandatory Retirement in the Police Service: the Case of the London MPS


Flynn, M. 2011. Mandatory Retirement in the Police Service: the Case of the London MPS. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management. 34 (1), pp. 67-82.
TitleMandatory Retirement in the Police Service: the Case of the London MPS
AuthorsFlynn, M.

Purpose – It is common for police services to set mandatory retirement ages at a relatively young
level. The aim of this paper is to discuss the reasons for, and workforce planning implications of,
mandatory retirement within the context of the London Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).
Design/methodology/approach – This research is based on in-depth interviews with seven senior
human resource managers and two trade union representatives in the MPS.
Findings – Workforce planning issues shaped managers’ perceptions of the need for a mandatory
retirement age of 60 for police constables. On the one hand, they were under pressure to increase the
number of constables, and the possibility of extending working life was seen as one means to that end.
On the other, it was feared that the retention of older police officers would lead to career blockages for
younger police constables rising through the ranks.
Practical implications – Owing to labour and skills shortages, MPS managers were looking for
ways to encourage older police officers to delay retirement. Innovative practices, such as offering
flexible working hours, mentoring roles and pension incentives as alternatives to retirement were
Originality/value – The qualitative data put the discussion of mandatory retirement in police
services within the context of workforce planning rather than capability. For police authorities that
maintain mandatory retirement policies, raising or abolishing retirement age would change the
workforce planning paradigm in which police officers are recruited from, and retire at, young ages.

JournalPolicing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management
Publication dates
Publication process dates
Deposited22 Aug 2012
Output statusPublished
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
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