I rise to present a petition on behalf of my constituents in Linlithgow and East Falkirk relating to the retirement age of prison officers, an issue I have raised on their behalf on a number of occasions before. I would like to place on the record my gratitude to the hon. Members from both sides of the House who signed my early-day motion 654 earlier in the year.
The petition, which I fully agree with, states:
The petition of residents of Linlithgow and East Falkirk,
Declares that prison officers carry out some of the hardest public service work in dangerous and often violent conditions and yet they are expected to continue to carry out this work until they are 68 years old; further that police officers can retire at 60 years old even though they do not experience the same unrelenting threatening conditions; further that people living longer does not mean their physical and mental abilities can withstand the daily demands placed on prison officers; and further that the retirement age of prison officers should be aligned with that of police officers.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to bring down the retirement age of prison officers to 60 as 68 years of age is too old to cope with the physical and mental challenges of being a prison officer on a daily basis; and to afford prison officers more generally the same consideration as police officers, who have periodic contact with the same type of offenders.
And the petitioners remain, etc.