Month: July 2015

Open Letters to Those in Power

Open Letters to Those in Power

“Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.”
Theodore RooseveltTheodore Roosevelt

A brave serving officer has opened his heart, risked the vilification, wrath and bullying of Avon & Somerset’s chief officers, and told the truth about what it is to be a PC in the constabulary. The same constabulary that targets its retired officers on IODs in the same manner it abuses its serving ones.

A FORCE FOR GOOD_ A serving police officer..

The twitter response from DCC Gareth Morgan  suggested he doesn’t recognise the picture ‘PC B Standard’ paints (hardly surprising as the DCC types his twitter feed whilst sitting in his ivory tower) and to cheerfully put forward a gleeful invite to meet up ‘in a place of PC Standard’s choosing’

Notwithstanding if PC ‘Standard’ ever takes the DCC up on his invite that his career will be over (an interesting statistic would be how many serving officers in A&S are off on long term sick due to management bullying induced stress), it is the lack of prescient of the DCC that he himself can not see that he and his chief officer colleagues are the problem cause.

It seems this force preys on serving officers just the same as it sucks the life force from those that it has retired.

DCC Morgan – you say you don’t recognise the description, but the 490 people retired on an IOD recognise it all too well.

Here is an accompanying polemic  to PC B Standard’s brave stand.


When I was told that I  would  be retired on an injury pension I thought the force had my best interests in heart.  I  didn’t understand the regulations – I’d never read or even heard of them.  I just thought this was what a happened when you could no longer work as an operational police officer.  I tried to get on with my life, and the constabulary seemingly stepped away and gave me space as I never heard from them for years.

Then I came across the Mountsteven’s letter that compared the expense of fulfilling the force’s duty to pay injury pensions to replacing the fleet of police vehicles.  I then found other IODs similarly shocked and then the reviews of others started.  Reviews motivated by greed  Reviews not individual to the circumstances of the retired officer.  Reviews initiated with the tacit approval of the force’s chief officers.

It became clear that we had not been reviewed because the force was allowing us to rebuild our lives – we were never reviewed as it suited them not to review.  They hadn’t left us alone by any notion of displaying kindness and concern, they had left us alone because they had forgotten, and it had suited them to forget.

The force cannot proclaim they have a duty to review when they themselves have never reviewed.  A suitable interval isn’t ‘their‘ suitable ‘we have no money‘ interval.  It is an interval suitable to the individual.

But it is the falsity, the subterfuge and treacherous guile that the force engages against those who dare speak out against it .  PC Standard shows the true colours of those in charge at A&S.  If current officers are being told mistruths to lure them into a false way of thinking as PC Standard put it ‘they are to sell the lies that all is well to the officers on the ground’, it is nothing compared to when the force sees you as an enemy to be crushed.  The freedom of information team have been told by the chief officers to breach the act by giving false answers and to claim subjects are vexatious and therefore out-of-bounds.  Never do they think if they told the truth to start with then no-one would seek disclosure of the real truth through freedom of information.  It is the lies that need to be unmasked

And the duplicity continues.  Under instruction from higher powers the HR managers do not tell the federation nor narpo the truth.  Letters to the Temporary Chief Constable go unanswered.  Internal Dispute Resolution Procedures go ignored.  Any communication asking for updates and answers go to the black hole of Legal Services.  Concerns raised by Members of Parliament are bounced back with glib half-truths that do not match and therefore blatantly contradict the letters and emails given to the IODs that are being reviewed – vapid answers to the MPs given purely with the intent to throw the enquirer off the scent and to get them off their back.

A&S chief officers run a police service and the bar is set high for professional standards. If the police service fails to be ethically and morally sound in the decisions of it’s leaders then it loses it’s position of authority on all counts.

Misconduct of an individual is one thing – a culture of lying and masking the truth is group think.  Endemic to A&S HQ.  This group think has infected and poisoned Portishead HQ.

PC Standard wrote

“Their tactics work. I’m typing this, nervous that I should ever be found out. If they ever found out who I was I would be shown the door via a reg 15 for gross misconduct for bringing the force into disrepute, my reputation destroyed and vilified for being a trouble maker

That is exactly how those with an A&S IOD feel.  Magnified due to the vulnerability of being disabled.

How can this scandal hit force be allowed to continue with its current leaders?  It is no coincidence that the current abuse of IODs is simultaneously occurring with all the other  morally and legally wrong  decisions of A&S.

It is how this force rolls …

So yes, DCC Morgan, it seems you and your close friends are the only ones that don’t know.

Apologies to Taylor Swift for the following misquote

“If you’re horrible to me, I’m going to write a song blog about it, and you won’t like it. That’s how I operate.”
Taylor Swift

Patient Zero

Patient Zero
ACPO colluded with the Home Office to introduce unlawful procedures
into injury pension reviews. We present the evidence

“Evil isn’t the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it’s a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference.”
Jim Butcher, Vignette

IODPA has often referred to Home Office circular 46/2004 as being the start of the rot and the beginning of the end for justice in applying the injury Regulations in the manner they were intended.  We have laid the blame mostly on ‘The Bureaucratium’ of the civil servants’ desire to save the ‘public purse’ by trampling on the rights of disabled former officers. The following years clearly evidenced that the more massive a ‘Bureaucratium’ becomes; it only becomes less caring and more potent.

Elements within the Home Office had built up their own sense of importance to such an extent that they saw nothing wrong in encouraging police authorities and chief officers to trample on the Regulations.  The rampage initiated by HOC 46/2004 was only brought to an end by the few brave individuals who took their individual cases to judicial review and the Pension Ombudsman.

But what if we say that it wasn’t just the Home Office that got us into this mess?  Of course, they lit the fuse.  But who provided the match?

Would you be surprised to hear it was a group of people who once held the office of constable themselves?   Back in the day, before they reached their halcyon career heights, these people could have been injured on duty.  So who were these monkeys to the Home Office’s organ grinder?


The HO asked ACPO for its feedback on the draft of what was to become Annex C to HO circular 46/2004. The Chief Constable of Staffordshire, John Giffard, replied for ACPO. He was the designated lead for ACPO on police pensions. He spoke for all Chief Officers when he told the Home Office:

‘I suspect that my original intention was always to deal with people reaching 65 years of age and that remains the most important part. We continue to think that at that stage anybody in receipt of an injury award should be automatically dropped to the lowest band or possibly even completely dropped.’
You may think it remarkable that such a group of very senior police officers would not understand that the Regulations do not allow an injury award to be ‘automatically dropped’ or ceased, as he suggests. One possibility is that they understood perfectly well, but were prepared to sell IOD pensioners down the river, as the HO appeared to be willing to support a raid on injury pensions.In 2004 this could have all been stopped.  
The dubious practice of manipulating the injury pension Regulations so as to attempt to save money could have been blocked, scuppered before it gathered any momentum. Instead, due in no small part to the ready acquiescence of ACPO, we have seen the rise and spread of corrupt practices where the purpose and intent of the Regulations are disregarded, to the very great detriment of both serving and retired officers.
This is what the Home Office wrote to John Giffard CBE QPM, aforementioned Chief Constable Staffordshire Police, asking for his views concerning the proposed new method of reviewing and thus reducing injury pensions of those reaching 65 years of age.


HO letter to CC John Giffard

Giffard should have replied, “Not on my life.  You are not allowed to do this  – the Regulations forbid it”.  But no. He gave  the Home Office ACPO’s rubber stamp of approval, and even went further. According to Giffard’s outrageous view, expressed on behalf of all Chief Officers across the land, injury pensions should actually be ceased at that age. He was not talking about some future, revision of Regulations, some new diminished injury pension provision. He was talking about subverting the current Regulations.


Reply from CC John Giffard to HO

The line about “expecting, but not concerned with” a challenge from the Staff Associations is a nice touch and tells us something more about the moral bankruptcy of the man and of the organisation he represented. He obviously realised the significance of what he was suggesting but coolly calculated the Federation would be baffled and too impotent to do anything about the planned pension raid.

ACPO were quite willing to throw injured former officers to the wolves and to let the survivors do what they could to  rescue their pension rights by challenging maladministration at judicial review. Instead of supporting and protecting former officers – and serving officers, for they too might become injured on duty and have to retire on a pension – ACPO deliberately chose to side with the Home Office and agree to what it may well have realised was an unlawful abuse of the law.

I will conclude this eye-opening account of the duplicity of one Chief Constable, acting on behalf of all his peers, with the sobering reminder that all Chief Constables are now the Police Pension Authorities.  They have responsibility for the administration of the injury pension scheme.  Frightening isn’t it?  Having this fox in the police pension hen-house set-up is no different from trusting the organ grinder’s monkey to guard the money instead of spending it on bananas.

Apportionment & Revisiting Causation

Apportionment & Revisiting Causation

Human Resources and SMPs simply are not getting the message. They are ignoring the Regulations, determinations by the Pensions Ombudsman and binding decisions in the High Court. They think they can revisit and amend earlier final decisions on the causes of injury. IODPA is ready and able to fight all such abuses. We speculate on the adverse impact of injury pension maladministration on the morale and efficiency of serving officers

“Can we say, in this case, that the cause of a cause is the relevant cause?” ― Johnny RichThe Human Script

Let’s talk some more about reviews of injury pensions, and the deliberate mischief that SMPs and HR get up to. We believe that injured on duty pensioners are often subjected to an unlawful fresh assessment of their degree of disablement.  It is clear the inexperience of HR departments and SMPs leads some of them into thinking that on review, they can calculate degree of disablement from scratch.  They can’t.  And this is why.

At review, the only task of the SMP is to determine whether there has been any alteration in degree of disablement since the question was last decided. It’s like looking at a clock – it tells you the time now is so many hours, minutes or seconds different from the last time you looked. You don’t tell the current time by calculating from the big bang when the universe was created. The SMP is required to take the previous decision on degree of disablement as a given – as the starting point. He can’t second-guess the why or the how of the duty injury. He can’t try to find fault in the decisions made by the earlier decision-maker. Those decisions are, in law, final and not subject to question.

Some SMP think they can revisit these decisions and believe they are entitled to look again at the cause of the disablement – the ‘causation’ as it is known. Some SMPs forget they are not there to conduct a diagnosis, and are thus forbidden from speculating whether the disabling injury occurred as a result of the execution of the officer’s duty or from some other cause. The High Court has made it clear that causation can not be revisited, but some SMPs think they can ignore the law.

The consequence of such a root and branch departure from the strictures of the Regulations is so dramatic the consequences cannot be emphasised enough.  Once a SMP makes a mistake it condemns the former officer to a long drawn out legal battle to undo something that should never have occurred.  True to form, once a bad decision is made a Police Pension Authority will always blindly defend it to the end – even if they know they are wrong they seem incapable of a climbdown. It can take years to sort out.

So what prevents a SMP who has a casual disdain for the Regulations and case law from going back to medical records from birth and stating an injury was caused, in part, by you falling off your bicycle when you were 7 years old?

I’m not exaggerating.

In a recent case a SMP tried to make out that a former officer who had a mild episode of anxiety when he was just 7 had a ‘pre-existing condition’ and thus his PTSD some thirty years later was not solely cased by on duty incidents. This sneaky little ploy is called ‘apportionment’. It can be used to cut a band four pension down to a band one.

SMPs need to be told in no uncertain terms that they must comply with the law, which includes binding decisions made in the High Court.

In the Court of Appeal in the case of the Metropolitan Police Authority v Laws and the PMAB [2010] EWCA Civ 1099,  it was held that the SMP was not entitled when conducting a review under regulation 37 to re-open clinical judgements as to causation or apportionment made in earlier decisions under the 2006 Regulations.

To put this simply, the question of causation or apportionment can only be considered at the time of the original decisions, when the injury award was granted, or on appeal against the original decisions to a PMAB, or if a reconsideration is made under regulation 32. A SMP cannot, years later, trawl through medical and other records in an attempt to re-think and amend those final decisions.

Once decided, the cause of the injury or any application of apportionment is final and at review the SMP is not able to even remotely go anywhere near those matters.  Even when the SMP would like to have full medical records because they want the ‘full picture’  – whatever that means – they can’t.  It is the equivalent of open prejudice in the sight of the jury or bench. It may be due to the training doctors get – treat the whole person, look for all the causes, check out all the possibilities – but SMPs must put that training to one side when conducting a review. Once a SMP has seen medical records he shouldn’t have seen he can’t conveniently forget them – doctors are not trained to forget medical history however much they claim it won’t influence them.  By accessing records they are not lawfully entitled to it instantly corrupts and prejudices the decision he/she is supposed to exclusively focus on, which is whether there has been any alteration in degree of disablement.

In  the case of R (on the application of Pollard) v The Police Medical Appeal Board and West Yorkshire Police Authority [2009] EWHC 403, Silber J found that Regulation 37 does not enable the police authority to reach a different conclusion on the issues specified in Regulation 30(2)(a), (b) or (c).

But what happens when an SMP does what they aren’t allowed to do?  Inevitably complaints are made to the Pension Ombudsman. Happily, in the vast majority of instances the pensioner wins the case.

Here is a short, but typical, sample of three PO determinations:


PO-828 [SMP] Dr Zubier found that Mr Diamond was “based on his level of functioning as a result of his fibromyalgia, … unfit for all work”. However, because he took the view that Mr Diamond’s Fibromyalgia was not caused by an injury on duty, Dr Zubier apportioned the injury award. This was not the correct approach to take under the Regulations


87657/1 Despite having noted that they should not revisit causation, the PMAB’s ‘Detailed Case Discussion’ included a lengthy discussion on the likely causes for Mr Marsden’s symptoms. The PMAB stated that they found it bizarre that they were not allowed to revisit causation, but said that they accepted that this was required by law. Having discussed likely causation at some length (and made it obvious that they disagreed with the previous decision), the PMAB then failed to ask the question they were required to; namely, whether there had been any substantial alteration in Mr Marsden’s condition since 2006. The PMAB instead moved on to consider whether and what type of roles Mr Marsden might be able to undertake. They had asked NPA to supply details of alternative roles Mr Marsden might be expected to undertake. However, the record of their discussion does not suggest that they asked whether those roles had become accessible to Mr Marsden since the 2006 review, either by changes in his medical condition or changes in the roles themselves. I find, therefore, that the PMAB’s consideration of Mr Marsden’s case was flawed and that this should have been apparent to NPA.


84102/2 It is clear that the SMP based her report on medical evidence which predated the date of the last review, that both the SMP and the PMAB were questioning the validity of the original decision taken by MPA to award Ms Beale an injury benefit. In addition, although the PMAB noted “Ms Beale could work 50% of the time (less than 20 hours per week) in an appropriate environment with necessary adaptations for wheelchair access”, it then failed to ask the question it was required to; namely, whether and what type of roles Ms Beale might be able to undertake and whether those roles had become accessible to Ms Beale since the 2001 review, either by changes in her medical condition or changes in the roles themselves. I find, therefore, that the PMAB’s consideration of Ms Beale’ case was flawed and that this should have been apparent to MPA. I find that it was maladministration for the MPA to reduce Ms Beale’s benefit on the basis of a flawed review.

I hope the reader sees why IODPA needs to exists?  Because of the bungling machinations of HR drones and SMPs, disabled former officers face the lifetime prospect of entanglement with Police Medical Appeal Boards, complaints to the Pension Ombudsman, and even judicial reviews in the High Court. It can be a full time career to have the misfortune of being awarded an IOD.

Perhaps all who join the police should be told, ‘Welcome, and if you are ever injured on duty you’ll get what’s due to you. It won’t be sympathy, assistance, care or concern. You’ll be put on light duties, half pay, messed about, kept in the dark about your rights and then booted out. You will have to fight tooth and nail to get an injury award and then you will be hounded forever with endless unlawful reviews. Expect to spend the rest of your life dealing with the fallout created by incompetent, poorly trained, often downright nasty HR types, and SMPs’.

Do you think that, knowing this is a very real prospect, a fresh recruit would think twice about following a suspect in a foot chase down a dark alley, or confront the violent drunk who is brandishing a fence post, or try to stop a careering stolen vehicle?

Perhaps if they knew the truth they might think its better to stay safe than risk being injured and cast out with an IOD.

College of Policing Inquiry ends with damning assessment of Injury Award system

College of Policing Inquiry ends with damning assessment of Injury Award system
The College of Policing reports that there is widespread lack of expertise regarding the police injury pension Regulations. We believe that injured on duty pensioners know more about the Regulations than those who are supposed to apply them. We understand there is also widespread interference by medically unqualified staff in the process of deciding the degree of former officers’ disablement. There is now a complete lack of trust that injury pensions are being managed lawfully.

“Toxic people will pollute everything around them. Don’t hesitate. Fumigate.”
Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

It wasn’t meant to be like this.

An award for life in compensation for an injury sustained has become a ruination of a thing.  Those who are in receipt of injury pensions are drained of life and hope, having suffered the double blow of being injured and then being further assaulted by the tribulations imposed on them by the abuses of management and the warped cogs of Human Resources churning out their unfeeling, rusty, circular machinations.

The Facebook page of IODPA has numerous stories from those with an IOD award of despair, loss of hope, rejection from the norms of society, isolation, legitimate paranoia – alienation from life just because of the misfortune of an event that could have happened to anyone. If that was not enough suffering, they are then treated as persona non grata by certain functionaries within the force who, bearing an unfathomable but odious grudge, have amply displayed their reluctance to properly administer injury pensions.

Sometimes this torture is drawn out for years only for the same apparatchiks – those concerned with warped procedural incorrectness at the expense of people’s needs – to re-enter and further damage the lives of people who have been trying to desperately rebuild their world.

This hasn’t just happened overnight.  The subversion has been deliberate but avoidable and it is shameful that The College of Policing recognises the extent of the damage but ignores the question of why it has been allowed to happen.  Its recent report into Injury on Duty process treats the extent of damage as just ‘one of those things’. That it has happened, is, according to the College, perhaps a matter of some mild regret, but the situation is otherwise unremarkable and was apparently unavoidable.  The hindsight of the college has ignored that truth that senior personnel have set in motion the sequence of events with deliberation.  This state of affairs is truly the fruit of their labour.

Reading between the lines of the report it is easy to see that it is no more than a vehicle to further justify the aims of certain ill-intentioned people to create regionally controlled and directed administration of police injury pensions. All in a good cause – of course. To help ensure consistency. The truth, we suspect, is to ensure that the Regulations are manipulated and abused consistently by all forces instead of just a few.

College of Policing Review of PMAB IHR IoD FINAL.PDF

Many forces are struggling due to the lack of expertise within their organisations. Both forces and staff associations report difficulties managing these issues due to key personal leaving the organisation or being absent for short periods due to sickness or prolonged periods of leave.

“Many forces are struggling” . . . what about those unfortunates suffering from the permanent effects of a duty injury who have to struggle to deal with the admittedly inexperienced and direction-less ‘key personnel’?  The College of Policing”s report does not reflect that it is mismanagement of resources, poor recruitment policies in respect of senior HR staff, and bad leadership that is the cause.  A lifetime with an injury pension can be made toxic because of the incompetence of a single poorly trained HR manager.

At the time of writing, very few forces are currently engaged in performing reviews of previous IoD decisions, many having not done so since the Home Office correspondence in 10 March 2010 following critical case law. The issues relating to the appropriateness of conducting reviews notwithstanding, the decision not to review has resulted in a significant degradation of the skill level of those staff members who had previous experience of this work. Many of whom, as a result of ongoing financial cuts to relevant departments, are no longer working for the police service.

The decision NOT to review! The College openly now accepts something we have long known and which some forces have long denied: that the decision to review is discretionary and is not the often touted absolute power which commands everyone with an award has be dragged over the coals for a review every 2 years.  Forces can’t claim they have a duty to review when it is evidential that they have habitually not held reviews. They can’t have it both ways.

There is no specific training available to the FMAs and it is recognised that the quality of the SMP decision will be very much dependant on the information provided by the FMA and force occupational health.

What are they on about?  The decision of the SMP is purely a factual medical decision, which the SMP as a doctor who, by law, must be ‘duly qualified’ to make. The SMPs decision is based on the consideration of substantial change since the last decision. That decision rests on the SMPs assessment of the pensioner’s medical condition.

Why should any submission from the occupational health unit have any relevance to a matter that does not concern them? The SMP is the decision-maker, not Occupational Health or HR. The only information which the SMP need be supplied with can come solely via the pensioner. It should be no more that the individual’s medical record since the time of the last final decision on degree of disablement and the pensioner’s account of his or her present state of health as affected by duty injury.

What is happening is that the independent role of the SMP is being interfered with, influenced and eroded. The above statement in the College’s report shows the extent of the toxic prejudice, and the institutionalised agenda to influence the SMP.

It is recognised that these processes are complex and expensive to the force and potentially led to a disservice of officers who have been injured in the line of duty. This lack of training also impacts on the ability of the force to manage these processes as the core knowledge is invested in only a small number of individuals. Where forces do not possess the knowledge, there is no immediate resource available to assist in managing these processes properly or monitor compliance in IHR and IoD decisions.

The College admits that they are failing officers who have been injured in the line of duty.  But still in Avon & Somerset, the likes of Wood (HR Business Manager), Jones (HR Manager) and Bulpitt (FMA) – the cabal of the above mentioned small number of individuals – continue their crusade to undermine injury pensions further.  Are they not responsible for a disservice to officers who have been injured in the line of duty?   Why, we have to ask, are they left to further add their concentrated toxicity to the process with nothing to neutralise them? Could it be that no other person in the force has any clue what they are up to? Or is it nearer to the truth that no other person cares what they are up to?

Here are a few bullet points that the College left out their report:

  1. Retired officers often feel abhorrence to the force that they left. Being pragmatic former police officers, it is not the injury that they begrudge, so much as how the force focused it’s ire and treated them like a contaminated contagious foreign body that needed to be expelled.
  2. Those with an injury pension have made it their business to understand the Regulations and case-law. We know far more than the inexperienced and poorly trained ‘key personnel’ which infest so many forces, as alluded to in the College’s report.
  3. After HOC 46/2004, we have had enough. We will not stand for further abuse and maladministration.

“Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back!” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Reviews only work if the process has trust.  The report of the College of Policing shows that the medical retirement process itself is broken.  A broken process generates distrust. Why would anyone who has been treated unfairly, even unlawfully, allow the force that did them such a disservice back into their life so that the force can roll them over again with a view to reducing the force’s financial commitments?  Once bitten, twice shy.

The world has moved on; the Regulations are the same but pensioners experience of abuses over the years against injury awards by those mentioned in the College of Policing report means things are profoundly different now from what they once were.  Pensioners are educated in the wiles of errant HR, Occupational Health personnel and corrupt SMPs and know how to recognise them, and how to deal with them. The recent past abuses can not be easily forgotten, if ever. The current evolving abuses cannot be tolerated or allowed to continue. Unless there is a disclosure of the full truth behind these abuses followed by a genuine change of attitude within forces, and open minded reconciliation then it is unlikely that anyone who has an injury award will blindly allow themselves to be victims again.

Who will watch the watchers?

Who will watch the watchers?

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? – Who will watch the watchers?”


Police Pension Authorities (PPA) have the administrative power and control of the implementation of the Police Injury Pension Regulations. They are the watchers. But some think they have more important things do, so neglect their duties in respect of the Regulations. In most forces the office of PPA is vested in the sole personage of the Chief Constable. Police injury pensioners would expect each PPA to apply their accumulated wisdom and police experience to the role. Wisdom and experience which are so very obviously lacking when the discretionary powers of a PPA are delegated, with abandonment of oversight, to lower members of staff. A rudderless ship is only a blink away from catastrophe. It is more than a mere conflict of interest if the chief financial officer or a HR manager take over the powers – it is a recipe for a disaster. Even worse should a Police and Crime Commissioner insert herself into policy making and seek to influence how the Regulations should be applied.

Whereas a PPA would normally be trusted to be fair in the application of the Regulations, when careless delegation exists the administration of injury pensions becomes twisted and corrupted; the foundation of the power itself and the authority it invokes is eroded. If a statutory power to oversee the administration of injury pensions is being abused in order to reduce the financial burden of the constabulary, then the post-holder of the power, and the power itself, are both compromised.

If the PPA is not watching, then who is watching the PPA? Who is there ready to step in when a PPA effectively walks off the bridge and lets the cook or cabin boy steer the ship? There is a fundamental flaw in handing police pension powers to the very person who stands to see their budget benefit should the Regulations be abused in order to try to save money. If the watcher is failing – who is there for the governed to turn to?  That is the crux of this post. Can the police do whatever they want, because they are the police?

No is the answer. With great power comes great responsibility (Voltaire).  The watcher is duty bound to administer injury pensions only as dictated by statute; that is the primary raison d’etre of a PPA.

In the stated case R v East Sussex County Council, Ex p Tandy [1998] AC 714, Lord Browne-Wilkinson indicated that to permit the Local Education Authority avoiding performing a statutory duty on the grounds that it prefers to spend the money in other ways would be to downgrade a statutory duty to a discretionary power.

In other words, no matter how the Chief Constable, the Director of Finance, or the Police and Crime Commissioner would rather spend ratepayers’ hard earned contributions, when it comes to police injury pensions the Police Pension Authority has an obligation first, last, and only, to the relevant pension Regulations. A Chief Constable must take off his police hat and don a different one. He must be capable of understanding that the role of PPA is distinct and different from his role as the head of the force.

But what happens if a PPA is obviously failing in its role?  Perhaps the post-holder is keeping the Captain’s seat warm whilst the true PPA is being investigated for serious misconduct allegations, and perhaps the temporary post holder has not got a grasp of what is happening on his watch.  Who can act as the guardian of the guardian and step in to resolve the maladministration and misery inflicted on disabled former officers?

It is for sure that the acting PPA has no will to stand tall and live up to the expectations of the role. What we have seen so far by Avon & Somerset is a text-book response of an inward-looking, self-serving, po-faced, morally bankrupt public organisation.  When they get things wrong the immediate reaction is to cover it up, and if challenged they resort to waffle and bluster. They never apologise, and nobody ever gets punished.

West Yorkshire Police (WYPA) is another fine example of where maladministration has flourished despite the supposedly restraining oversight of the PPA. The Pension Ombudsman (PO) has found (upheld or partly upheld) repeatedly against WYPA in the last 18 months:

Ref:PO-1407 Date:17 Apr 2014

Ref:PO-2799 Date:05 Aug 2014

Ref:PO-2301 Date:20 Mar 2015 *

Ref:PO-2705 Date:30 Mar 2015

Ref:PO-4078 Date:05 June 2015

*although not upheld by the PO this was on a technicality as the appellant had already received compensation and recompense before the decision – WYPA was still found to be guilty of maladministration

What does it take to impeach an organisation which has so many failures?  Is it the case that those retired out on injury awards have to continually ride this roller-coaster of being ‘had over’ by the PPA, turn to the PO to uphold the complaint, wait expectantly for a change in attitude and approach, only for the PPA to do it all again to others?

In a Utopia, the role of PPA would be taken from errant Chief Officers and the task handed to some other, more competent, agency to administer.

As with West Yorkshire so with Avon & Somerset: what does it take to for an external guardian to declare, ‘enough is enough’?

There are complaints pending with the Information Commissioner’s Office. There are complaints heading towards the Pensions Ombudsman. They have been questions raised with Members of Parliament. The Home secretary has been informed, the Federation knows about it, solicitors have been put on notice . . . but still Avon & Somerset pretend that they are righteous. The morals of senior management of Avon and Somerset are tainted by noble cause corruption. They have their righteous eyes on their duty to be prudent with the public purse, but fail to see that does not confer entitlement to abuse the Regulations or disabled former officers. It is sad to reflect that no-one at the insular ivory tower at Portishead thinks that keeping all those former officers in review purgatory for over a year is a bad thing.

Juvenal, an ancient Roman, satirically questioned what happens when guardians, whose job it is to enforce moral behaviour on certain women, get paid in kind to look the other way.

It is an age-old problem, so I will leave it to Socrates, an ancient Greek philosopher, who also voiced concerns about the guardians, to remind us that the solution is to properly train the guardians’ souls.