“The ‘Somebody Else’s Problem’ field is much simpler and more effective, and what’s more can be run for over a hundred years on a single torch battery. This is because it relies on people’s natural disposition not to see anything they don’t want to, weren’t expecting, or can’t explain.”
Our “friends” at Avon and Somerset HR have declared they have to review injury pensions because the Home Office (HO) told them to do it. A well-placed and always reliable source within the force tells us that certain people who should know better have stated the Home Office has directed forces to re-start reviews.
The reality is that after the PCC’s infamous letter, in which she tacitly declared that that former A&S officers with an Injury On Duty award were of no benefit to the people of Avon and Somerset, Carol Wood (the HR business manager) had a meeting with members of the HO Police Pension Team who effectively told her that case-law could not be superseded, that the pension regulations have to be followed and that the regulations do allow for a review, but only if a suitable interval has elapsed and with the belief that the pensioners level of disability has altered. This all has to be considered on a case by case basis.
So what did A&S do? They chose 16 band fours all under 55 years of age. Let’s, for a moment, look at the figures and see whether the selection of the sixteen could have been on a case by case basis.
Of the 490 disabled former officers with an IOD award from A&S 347 are above 55 years of age, so 143 are under 55. For simplicity, just say the distribution between the 4 bands is uniform. Thus it could be said that 36 of those under 55 are band fours.
|So the probability of selecting a single band 4 who is under 55 is 7.35%|
|Therefore, the probability of randomly selecting 16 individuals who are each on a band four and aged under 55 from the population of 490 is
By way of contrast, the probability to win the national lottery is 1 / 14million or 0.000000071429 !
Enough of the maths – the figures indicate very clearly that it was deliberate decision and not a fluke that the younger band fours were chosen. The probability of randomly selecting 16 individuals of the same banding and age group is so slim as to be practically impossible.
It seems obvious they were selected solely because they stand to be paid a band four pension for longer than older pensioners. Therefore, HR have targeted them because they represent the best opportunity to save money.
The recent letter from the Home Office, below, tells us that the HO office have not directed any force to review.
It categorically declares that their position is:
- reviews must be done on a case by case basis,
- reviews at specific age points was declared unlawful,
- Reviews must consider each case on its merits and take into account the circumstances of the individual.
The conclusion is clear: Avon & Somerset – and any force which targets a narrow selection – is acting contrary to the advice of the HO. And is breaking the law. The HO knows that such a targeted campaign is unlawful. The HO got a severe kicking in the High Court over its unlawful guidance in Annex C to HO circular 46/2004, which they allude to in the above letter. They are not willing to take any more flak so are saying in a roundabout way, that if the police pension authority cocks things up then its on them.
So A&S … it’s all on you. Don’t take injury pensioners for fools. Don’t pretend that the Home Office has told you to conduct reviews, or has encouraged you to hold reviews. It didn’t. You alone made the decision to hold reviews because you thought that disabled former officers would be a soft target for your money-saving ambitions. You deliberately picked on the most severely disabled, the most vulnerable and have treated them with contempt.
The PCC said they were of no worth to the citizens of Avon and Somerset, but you thought they were worth something, but only in terms of saving money by reducing their pensions.