ONE of the region's MPs is backing the nuclear police over a pension dispute.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill said members of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary should be able to retire on full pension aged 60 in line with the rest of the policing service and not be expected to work until the age of 68.

The public service pensions act 2013 provides an exemption for members of the police, fire fighters and armed forces who are able to access their benefits unreduced if they leave active service at 60. But, the nuclear police are not included in this.

He said: "The nuclear power station in Hartlepool is protected round the clock by those hard working, highly trained, specialist fire arms officers who have to carry more than 30kg of weight when they work.

Because of this and the nature of their jobs, they have to maintain a high level of fitness both mentally and physically which the Nuclear Police Constabulary Federation concedes would be difficult to maintain beyond 60.

The union quite rightly has pointed to the fact that unlike other police colleagues employed by the Home Office, the Nuclear police constabulary, who are not, were left out of the public service pension act 2013 by omission, meaning they are being treated less favourably than their home office colleagues.

"The union also fears that the situation will be exacerbated if it is not rectified ahead of the introduction of a new pension scheme in 2018."

The MP added: "I stand squarely behind the NPCF and the officers who protect Hartlepool’s Nuclear industry, and have written to the Minister for Energy and Industry, Richard Harington calling on him to urgently address this matter."