Up to a third of Police Scotland’s senior leaders could quit due to changes in their pension scheme, the organisation which represents them has said.

The Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (ASPS) has taken the unprecedented step of raising a dispute with Scotland’s national police force and the Scottish Police Authority.

The ASPS members backed the move unanimously in a poll, with the organisation saying the pension changes could leave them thousands of pounds worse off.

President Rob Hay said: “This is an unprecedented step – but we are clearly speaking as a united voice.

“The service relies on the goodwill of our members and that is clearly being lost. As the vote shows, they are fuming about this.

“And there is a real risk that a large number of them will vote with their feet.

“Our members who are over 50 years of age and have over 25 years, who wish to avoid incurring further interest payments on their pensions, can and will retire.

“The fact that this is almost a third of every superintendent and chief superintendent serving today should be enough to galvanise the service and the government and the Police Service into action.”

He continued: “That’s an incredible amount of experience and talent that could just walk out of the door. What a terrible shame to force these proud police officers out of service due to a financial decision and a basic principle of fairness.

“Whoever forms the next Westminster government needs to take this matter extremely seriously.”

Reforms in public sector pensions led to police officers moving to the Career Average Revalued Earning (Care) scheme, paying lower contributions.

A 2018 Court of Appeal ruling known as the McCloud judgment found there had been age discrimination for some officers and they were offered a sum known as the pension remedy.

But in order to access the pension remedy, the officers had to pay in extra money which they would have done under the old scheme.

The ASPS says exact figures are not available but someone who was a superintendent between 2015 and 2022 would pay around £9,000.

Mr Hay said that senior officers are being charged interest on this sum, under direction from the Treasury.

Mr Hay added that Police Scotland, the SPA, SPPA (Scottish Public Pensions Agency) and Scottish Government “all point the finger of blame elsewhere – ultimately at HM Treasury and, by extension, the UK Government”.

Mr Hay said: “This is all profoundly unfair on our colleagues – and we will continue to battle over this, whoever is in power after July 4.”

The Scottish Government, SPA and the Treasury have been approached for comment.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We understand how important the pension scheme is as part of the total reward package for our colleagues and the significance that pension changes may well have had on the personal circumstances and wellbeing of those impacted.

“Police Scotland continues to work closely with staff associations and the SPPA to support the implementation of remedy and minimise the impact to those affected.

“We have received correspondence from the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents and will respond in due course.”