“Divide and rule, the politician cries;
Unite and lead, is watchword of the wise.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,
An objective reader might assume that many of the posts on this blog are Bristol-centric. There is no doubt that Avon & Somerset wins the prize for most maladministration at the moment, but this should not deflect attention from other Police Pension Authorities, some of whom who are keeping their powder dry, ready to attack their own IOD pensioners once they think the coast is clear. Also let’s not forget the individual battles some IODs are fighting, and have been for many years, against forces that have never been dormant in their abuse of the Regulations.
The posts and pages on site are of concern to every IOD pensioner, and to serving officers too, as they touch all areas of the Regulations irrespective of those abusing them.
IODPA has heard of the shameful actions of some forces who deliberate target the same individuals repeatedly, and of the cases decided by the Pension Ombudsman in the IOD’s favour only for the forces concerned to repeat the maladministration. We have noted well the use by some forces of a particular couple of SMPs who have the distinction of managing to combine shameful ignorance of the Regulations with obvious disregard of the ethics of their profession, and who are nothing less than hired guns whose purpose is solely to reduce injury pension payments.
It is a disgrace that disabled former officers are being compelled to spend the twilight of their lives fighting continuous legal battles to just keep the injury pension they are entitled to after being injured on duty. Like all of us, they never gave much thought to the possibility or consequences of injury, and certainly never in their wildest nightmares anticipated that they would face determined attempts by corrupt and spiteful administrators to unlawfully reduce their pension entitlements
We have heard some of the stories of individuals, but we also need to hear about systematic institutional abuses. Isolated victimisation is the weapon of choice by some HR managers and legal services – divide and conquer. But when all these narratives are viewed as a whole, the picture changes to that of misfeasance in a public office – an offence at common law triable only on indictment. It carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
The tort of Misfeasance in Public Office was designed to target ‘the deliberate and dishonest abuse of power’ in the event of a person suffering loss or damage as a result of administrative action known to be unlawful or carried out with reckless disregard or indifference to the consequences.
The offence of ‘Malfeasance’ takes the reckless element a stage further and is when a public official intentionally does something either legally or morally wrong which he had no right to do. It always involves dishonesty, illegality, or knowingly exceeding authority for improper reasons. It is conduct in violation of the law.
Here is an example of how those administrating injury awards think:
…as of now I believe Carole and I are clear about what to do. They’ll be an awful lot of appeals though.
Yes, you read it right. They heard that the Home Office guidance was withdrawn in full but they plan to continue with their ‘plan’ anyway.
They know their actions are unlawful as they fully expect appeals. Why would they expect appeals if they were doing the right thing? Obviously they know their continued actions are illegal – but still they go on.
But this appalling behaviour isn’t confined to those at Portishead (A&S’s HQ) – similar emails exposing maladministration exist in numerous police forces throughout the country. Dr Bulpitt, the author of the above email, used to be the force medical officer (FMA) of Cambridgeshire. Before Bulpitt became the FMA he was the director of Premier Occupational Healthcare Limited (again there’s another story here with how the director of the contractor eventually became the substantive FMA of the client). Under his stewardship this company provided a SMP by the name of Dr Roberts to Cambs. This force then fanatically, zealously and unlawfully set out to place all those receiving a band four pension, and who were over 65 years of age, onto a band one. Every single one of these IODs eventually had their rightful band restored. But the people who abused the Regulations and foisted such distress on vulnerable disabled former officers never suffered any censure or punishment.
Bulpitt’s Chief Constable around this time was a former A&S senior officer named Julie Spence. This Chief Constable’s extraordinary claim was that the guidance in HOC 46/2004 was mandatory. In March 2010 she announced her retirement following repeated challenges over her claim and a matter of days after the Home Office advised all forces to suspend reviews – a clear signal of admission that the guidance she insisted was ‘mandatory’ was in fact unlawful. Julie Spence was an accomplished self-publicist, and was undoubtedly ambitious. She had even chosen to suggest, to a reporter from the Guardian newspaper in November 2008, that she might be interested in being considered for selection to the post of Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. Instead, at the age of 54 she decided to quit policing in order, as reported, ‘to spend more time with her husband, John’.
We may never hear the full truth behind her departure, but the evidence we have seen may shed some light on her very individual approach to the Home Office Guidance. You might care to bear in mind that Julie Spence has a law degree, which would lead one to presume she should have known full well the true status of Home Office guidance, and if she was in any doubt about the status of HO guidance she had a telephone on her desk which she could have used to call the HO for clarification. Perhaps she did make that call? And perhaps she received encouragement and offers of support for her extra-regulatory adventure.
Isn’t it indicative of the web of corruption at senior levels that Bulpitt, who was at the heart of Spence’s unlawful attack on injury pensions, was still, in 2014, writing inflammatory emails, and is still allowed to be employed today, when his main raison d’être seems to be to manipulate SMP Johnson into breaking the law?
All these degrees of separation are being diligently joined up.
We intend to collate a true census of the abuses and then make the transgression public knowledge. If you think your battle with your former force is isolated local malfeasance, think again. From our experience, confirmed by a recent shot-in-foot survey by the College of Policing, there is widespread ignorance, incompetence, indifference, lack of training and underfunding of injury pension administration. Add to that the morally reprehensible attitudes and actions of the likes of Bulpitt, Wirz, Broome, Kern, Johnson, Cheng and others, we should not wonder there are so many instances of unlawful application of the Regulations. It is a sobering thought that there is more than likely an IOD living within a short distance from you who is a victim of pension injustice.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your news and anything you want given a public platform concerning your force.