Junior officers from the uniformed services of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) can now retire at the age of 55, in a move that is designed to tap their experience and address manpower issues.

The new retirement age - effective from today - will affect officers from the police force, Central Narcotics Bureau, Singapore Prison Service and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

The new move allows them to retire at the same age as senior officers, and comes following feedback that they wanted to continue beyond the current retirement age of 50.

These junior officers will still enjoy medical, salary and leave benefits, and will also continue to take an annual physical fitness test.

An MHA spokesman said many of them are physically fit, and are able to continue contributing.

Said the spokesman: "It will allow the Home Team to tap their knowledge, experience and expertise built up over the years.

"It will also help to address the manpower issues that the Home Team is facing in the face of a shrinking resident workforce."

Junior officers employed before today in the various forces will now have the option to retire between 50 and 55 years old.

New ones will retire at 55.

MHA said that junior and senior officers may also be offered the opportunity to work till the age of 60, depending on organisational needs, as well as their performance, conduct and fitness.

About 30 junior officers will be eligible for the extended retirement age this year.

About 130 will be eligible next year.

Currently, about 180 uniformed officers reach retirement age each year.

SCDF Senior Warrant Officer Selamat Abdul Jalil would have been one of the retirees this year.

He welcomed the option to stay on as the income would help fund school fees for his seven children.

Said the 49-year-old, who was due to retire next month: "I'm very happy because the benefits are the same, and I can continue to contribute to the force."

The retirement age for officers in the Singapore Armed Forces is 50, 55 or 60 under different schemes.

The minimum retirement age in Singapore is 62, after which employers are required to offer re-employment to eligible employees up to the age of 65.