LOCAL police inspectors are formally pushing for a premature retirement package in a clear sign of nerves over the change of sovereignty. The Local Inspectors' Association (LIA) will meet Civil Service Branch representatives tomorrow to be briefed on compensation payments available to police attached to Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service (HMOCS). This action is the first shot in what may develop into a high-profile campaign by senior officers to seek better pay and guarantees of preserved conditions after 1997. However, publicly the local inspectors are not declaring what action they are prepared to take in support of their claims. The inspectors' move follows a separate approach earlier this month on the HMOCS package by the Superintendents' Association. The superintendents have already signalled a desire to have a one-off scheme that would permit members to retire before 1997 and rejoin immediately on contract without any reduction in pensions, claiming it would help plug a possible void in top management ranks. The LIA has 1,600 members and the Superintendents' Association represents the views of more than 400 officers. There are 2,900 officers in command posts above the rank of inspector. Police sources say all moves for more generous packages are being vigorously resisted. 'We must play careful politics and so are encouraging them to deal direct with the central Government,' said one officer involved in police management. 'But, I think a few home truths are coming home to roost. 'Some of their members appear to want to get up and run away, that cannot be overlooked. But it is selfish and, most people think, unreasonable.' The local inspectors will sound out officials on getting benefits for members who, if they choose to retire before 50, will be deprived of pension rights. The argument being mounted is that, because HMOCS officers have a choice to be compensated regardless of whether they leave or stay, local police should be given the same choice. It is claimed that since young inspectors do not gain access to the pension entitlements, they should be compensated for public service. Although a proper position has not emerged, one point in the LIA's negotiating brief may be to secure for officers a quasi-pension equivalent to their years of service. Beneath this view, however, lies a desire to boost the attractiveness of quitting the force in the years straddling 1997. The LIA could not be contacted last night for comment but its chairman, Robert Chau Chuen-kung, has previously confirmed the association's intention to explore options flowing from the decision to grant HMOCS officers payments of up to $1.4 million. The senior officers' moves highlight growing uncertainty and rumours on the outcome of personal interviews about their plans with those over the rank of inspector. This exercise, which will be completed within three weeks, is designed to gauge the extent of staff turnover after 1997. But despite Commissioner Eddie Hui Ki-on asking officers to indicate their future intentions, sources say most police have remained vague.