Month: December 2015

A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Merseyside and Avon & Somerset.  Liverpool and Bristol – the locations of 2 distinct police headquarters.  The Freedom of Information Act shines a light on how these public authorities operate.  Freedom of Information laws are important.  Of that there is no doubt.  They are important for public accountability and the equal treatment of all people under the rule of law.  They are important as an anti-corruption tool.  They are a mechanism to see the difference between how 2 police forces review their injury on duty pensioners.

Force Number of police officers Budget (millions) Area size (km²)
Avon and Somerset Constabulary 3302 248.9 4777
Merseyside Police 4516 307.3 645

Same Regulations, same decisions to be made.  Different results.

Between May 2014 and December 2015 Avon & Somerset has reviewed 16 people who left the force due to medical retirement and with an injury award.  Of the 16, shockingly only 9 have had a final decision – over a period of almost 2 years.

In a smaller time period, as discovered by a FOIA request, Merseyside has  performed 502 reviews in a single year.  Yes, you read that right.  502 in under 12 months.


1. How many former officers of your force are in receipt of an injury pension, as per regulation B4 of the Police Pensions Regulations 1987 or regulation 11 of the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006?


The number of former officers in receipt of an injury award is 880



2. The degree of disablement of a person in receipt of an injury pension may be reassessed or ‘reviewed’ from time to time. In the period January 1st 2011 to 31st October 2015, how many reviews of degree of disablement were held?


2011 – 0

2012 – 0

2013 – 0

2014 – 0

2015 – 502



3. What was the result of these reviews?  On a year by year basis, please express this as the total number of pensions increased, pensions decreased, or no amendment of pension paid.


477 – No Change   

  25 – Reduced  

    0 – Increased



4. On a year by year basis, how many notices of appeal to a Police Medical Appeal Board have been made in regard to injury pensions?




4 Notices of appeal , 3 withdrawn prior to appeal


Due to the low number of appeals no further breakdown will be supplied as this will engage S40 (2) Freedom of Information 2000 – Personal Information, this information could identify individuals concerned.


At the moment IODPA will stay neutral on the 25 that were reduced.  We will reaffirm our view that provision to hold reviews of degree of disablement – at appropriate intervals – is a sensible and necessary provision of the Regulations.  Whether or not the interval was appropriate for all 502 individuals in a single year is a moot point.

But how can one force finalise 502 and another finalise 9.  The answer is straightforward – Merseyside has apparently ‘considered whether the degree of the pensioner’s disablement has altered’ and to do this they have performed a paper-sift.

The Regulations do not allow for a full and fresh assessment to discover alteration.  It is enough to consider whether alteration exists, and end there if necessary, before going further and asking the medical questions of the extent of the change of degree of disablement and whether the change is substantial.

This is where Avon & Somerset have erred in Law – Bulpitt and his cronies  think that consideration is a full fresh assessment and that is why only 9 have decisions.  It takes a long time to revisit causation and perform an unlawful fresh calculation.  Erroneously and shamefully blaming the IOD for the delay because you’ve wrongly and without authority demanded medical records from birth doesn’t half make time fly.  Unsurprisingly, it takes much longer to deal with the appeals.

Conversely Merseyside has whizzed  through their IODs, for good or bad, because they have not forced all 502 in front of a selected medical practitioner.  They have considered whether it is appropriate before jumping in and committing themselves and the unfortunate IOD to the odious possibility of reliving all the facts of the injury and subsequent life since the last final decision.



Some PMAB Statistics

Some PMAB Statistics

“There are three types of lies — lies, damn lies, and statistics.”
Benjamin Disraeli

A (probably false) attribution to Benjamin Disraeli by Mark Twain.  This comment was never valid. At least not in the direct meaning of the words. It is just a sarcastic statement. It’s true meaning is that it is very dishonourable to present statistical “facts” to convince others that are not aware of the context in what the statistic was derived.

Anyway, always suckers for all things with numbers, we have analysed the data published by the Home Office.  This data is a summary of the number of Police Medical Appeal Boards heard (not cancelled or withdrawn) by forces between November 2008 and October 2014 – so over a 6 year period.

PMABs heard

The above chart shows the number of PMABs by forces over the past 6 years.  In the spirit of Mark Twain it fails to put the count in context though.  You could look at it and pick-out who you think are the nasty Police Pension Authorities, those that are the main offenders of abusing their former officers; but without plotting the number of officers in each force you can’t tell if the PMABs that are heard are ‘as expected’ by a force of that size.

‘Expected’ is a bit of a loaded term – some forces have never had a PMAB so it could be argued that the expected number should be 0.  We live in an imperfect world though, and ‘expected’ in this sense means compared to its peers.

Anyway, moving on: is The Met, with over 70 PMAB hearings, an outlier perhaps due to its size?  Perhaps.

It does give you an idea of some of the possible culprits when you can clearly see…

  • Northumbria (the lair of Solicitor  Nicholas ‘IOD hater General’ Wirz),
  • West and North Yorkshire,
  • West Midlands (home of the National Attendance Management Forum),
  • Nottinghamshire,
  • South Wales

…up in the top tier.  These are the  forces you perhaps don’t want to be medically retired from if you are after a just decision.

Alternatively, Hertfordshire, Cumbria, Northamptonshire and Suffolk seem to do quite well in not forcing their injured former officers to seek appeals.

Now lets look at how everything compares by adding an extra variable – the number of police officers in each force.


The blue line is the number of PMABs expected by a force of any particular size over a 6 year period (remember that ‘expected’ is in relation to a peer group comparison and is not an ideal).

The grey boundary is the margin of error.  The points are the actual PMABs counts plotted by the number of officers.  For simplicity, in the above, the PMAB counts for each of the old Scottish forces have been combined and the relative point relates to the number of current  serving officers in Police Scotland (the exact point is the grey cross slap-bang  in the middle and within the grey boundary).

Any point above the grey boundary is an extremely zealous and nasty Police Pension Authority.  The grey crosses are OK insomuch that their PMAB numbers are roughly what is expected, hence those point markers that are not grey  crosses are not OK!  In other words, here you can see members of the nasty party in glorious techi-colour:

Derbyshire (blue circle),

North Yorkshire (orange cross),

Northumbria (green diamond),

Nottinghamshire (red square),

South Wales (purple inverse triangle),

West Midlands (brown triangle) and

West Yorkshire (pink circle).

These are all the forces who are infamous in their drive to push and bully their IODs into PMAB, the Pension Ombudsman and Judicial Review.

Finally lets see how many cases are being heard by a PMAB panels over time.

PMAB by year

Quite a reduction isn’t it?  In 13/14 there was just a third of PMABs compared to the number heard in 08/09.  This shows quite clearly that Police Pension Authorities have blatantly targeted IODs and it is only the result of Judicial Reviews, Pension Ombudsman decision and the Scoffield report that their ‘wings’ have been clipped. They still try it on but on a lesser scale – eager to bully but not to force another Judicial Review.  The Regulations have not changed so why the variation between forces and the variation over time!  Easily answered:  Police Pension Authorities think they are a law unto themselves.

There is no excuse for this – there should be uniformity and consistency in decisions and no single force (or group of forces) should be allowed to unilaterally undermine statutory legislation that is the Police Injury Benefit Regulations.

Data Analysed in RStudio

A Christmas Carol (Wood)

A Christmas Carol (Wood)

Once upon a time – of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve – old Carol Wood sat busy in her counting house. It was cold, bleak, biting weather. The door was open that she might keep her eye upon her clerk, Jones, who in a dismal little cell was randomly making up degrees of disablement figures percentages and then, as soon as she had an arbitrary number in her head, erasing the actual number the medical practitioner had already decided upon and replacing it with her own. Wood had a large fire of smouldering personnel files, medical records of retired officers and ignored Freedom of Information requests. The clerk’s fire was so very much smaller that it looked like a single coal.

“A merry Christmas, Ms Wood! God save you!” cried a cheerful, dim but rather posh voice. It belonged to mad Sussie who owned the bakery shop next door. “Bah!” said Wood. “Humbug!”

Mad Sussie had so heated herself with spouting hot air in her latest press conference  that she was all in a glow.

“Out upon Merry Christmas!” snarled Wood. “What’s Christmas time but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, and not an hour richer; a time for trying to unlawfully reduce every IOD just to find every item in ’em presented dead against you.”

“I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time as a good time,” returned the old and decrepit mad Sussie. “The only time I know of when men and women  like us think of people below them as no benefit to the citizens of our good borough. If they really were fellow-passengers to reduce their injury pensions and force them to the grave or illness, and not another race of creatures to be treated with dignity and abiding by past promises.”

“I say of Christmas, God bless it!” cried the cheerful baker. “For it brings the PCC election closer.”

The clerk involuntarily applauded.

“Let me hear another sound from you,” Wood barked at Jones, “and you’ll keep your Christmas by losing your situation.”

The old crazy hag departed. As she did so, she let two other gentlemen in. Said one of the gentlemen: “AvonShire Human Remains Department, I believe. I am looking for Mr Hazel, your Director”. “Mr Hazel has been gone for years.” snorted Wood. “It is now a Mr Kern but he is out – busy driving his tax-avoidance, courtesy Audi A6 with complimentary blues and twos, on his way to world domination. I’m Ms Wood.   HR Directors come and go – Mr Hazel, Mrs Zeeman, now Kern – but I’ve had my mucky fingerprints on all HR issues here for the past three decades. I am ‘in it’ up to my neck.” replied Wood.

The gentleman took up a pen: “You’ll do fine then.  At this festive time of the year, Ms Wood, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some provision for the serving police officers who are on long term sick leave and who had been injured on duty.  Many are on half or no pay and they are permanently disabled from performing the duties of a police officer.  Medical retirement is the only right thing for them.”

“Are there no workhouses? Are there no prisons?” asked Wood. “Plenty of mental health hospitals,” said the gentleman, “in which some of these benighted creatures may yet rest.” He went on: “A few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy a means to provide welfare and support  for these poor wretches as the Federation seems to ignore the plight of their members. What shall I put you down for?” “Nothing!” Wood replied. “I don’t myself make merry at Christmas, and I can’t afford to make ill idle people merry. I am also medically retiring no-one.  I will protract their hell as long as I can until they resign themselves or better still expire themselves!  No one gets an Injury on Duty award from me any more.  Good afternoon, gentlemen!”

At length, the hour of shutting up the counting house arrived. Wood walked out with a growl and went home. She lived in chambers which had once belonged to her long departed former boss Mr Hazel. Wood, having her key in the lock of the door, saw in the knocker not a knocker, but Hazel’s face. It looked at Wood as Hazel used to look: with a ghostly smile turned up upon its ghostly mouth. Though the eyes were wide open, they were perfectly motionless. That made it horrible. As Wood looked fixedly at this phenomenon, it was a knocker again.

“Humbug!” said Wood. She closed the door and locked herself in; double-locked himself in.

The door flew open with a booming sound

Her colour changed when a wraith passed into the room before her eyes. Upon its coming in, the dying flame of the candle leaped up, as though it cried: “I know him! Hazel’s Ghost!” and fell again.

A chain was clasped about his middle. It was long, and wound about him like a tail. It was made of old, nasty HR department decisions of the past 30 years that moulded the poisonous culture of AvonShire; readily retiring injured police officers on a whim because it suited the constabulary to recruit healthy  younger and cheaper officers;  cover-ups of institutional abuse, bullying and dodgy dealings; failure to redeploy injured officers by deliberately failing to make reasonable adjustments; allowing cronies and zealots to climb promotion ladders and standing back whilst these socio-paths drive their subordinates to illness.  All in all the chains were the lengths of toxicity of a thoroughly rotten organisation. Why else had Wood and Hazel, in all their days together, had administered over 480 injury awards.  Though she looked the phantom through and through, though she felt the chill of its death-cold eyes, she was still incredulous and fought against her senses.

“You don’t believe in me,” observed the Ghost.

“I don’t,” said Wood. “I never did.”

At this, the spirit raised a frightful cry, and shook its chain with a dismal and appalling noise.

“Mercy!” said Wood. “Dreadful apparition, why do you trouble me?” “You will be haunted,” said the Ghost, “by Three Spirits.”

“You are fettered,” said Wood, trembling. “Tell me why?”
“I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.

Then the spectre floated through the window and out upon the bleak, dark night. Wood, desperate in her curiosity, looked out. The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither, and moaning as they went. Many had been personally known to Wood in their lives. They were the former officers whose careers Wood and Hazel had help ruin. Whether these creatures faded into mist, or mist enshrouded them, she could not tell.

Wood was returned to her bed when the hour bell sounded with a deep, dull, melancholy One. The curtains of her bed were drawn aside and Wood found herself face to face with the unearthly visitor who drew them. It was a strange figure. What was light one instant, at another time was dark, so the figure itself fluctuated in its distinctness.

“Are you the Spirit whose coming was foretold to me?” asked Wood. “I am!” The voice was smooth with a sinister yet fruity flavour. “What are you?” Wood demanded. “I am the Ghost of HR Directors Past,” replied the pale faced apparition.

It put out its hand. The grasp, though clammy as a snail, was not to be resisted. They passed through the wall and across space and time until they stood amidst an office with a doctor talking to a sad, downhearted and clearly unstable and injured police officer .

“Good Heaven!” said Wood. She recognised the doctor as the former police surgeon.  A doctor who held the post for 35 years and died years before. “You are no use to this organisation any more” the doctor said to the tearful and shell-shocked now former police officer.  “From this day your services are no longer required.  Return to your station and get your belongings.  I’ll certify you as a band 4  – you are clearly never going to work again.  You’ll never get better, we won’t review you so just go and live your life”.

“Spirit!” cried Wood. “The doctor just gave a band 4!  But there isn’t a wheelchair in sight!  Why do you delight to torture me? Show me no more!”

“I told you these were the shadows of the things that have been,” said the Ghost. “That they are what they are, do not blame me!” “Leave me!” Wood exclaimed. “Haunt me no longer!”

The hour struck again and with it came another phantom. “I am the ghost of HR Directors Present,” said the Spirit. “Look upon me!”

From head to toe, the phantom was clothed in rags. “Touch my robe!” commanded the spirit and whisked Wood  on to the dwelling of a retired officer with an Injury on Duty award.  Wood recognised the person as someone she and Kern had recently forced in front of Dr Johnson to be reviewed.

The former police officer was not living the high life.  They were broken.  Not only had their career been snatched from them 15 years ago but the past 2 years of being continuously under review;  of being interrogated for 90 minutes by Dr Johnson; of having a report only for Dr Johnson to revisit issues, revoke the first draft and then write utterly incorrect drivel about his medical condition.  Not having any conclusion was having its toll on an already damage mental health.  Thoughts of ending the pain was the coursing through the synaptic paths of his brain.   He reached for the bottle of cheap whiskey and drained it with no thought of how the alcohol will react to the powerful anti-psychotic medication he was taking.

The clock struck another hour. Wood asked: “I am in the presence of the Ghost of HR Directors Yet To Come?” The Spirit answered not, but pointed downward with its hand. “Ghost of the Future!” Wood cried. “I fear you more than any Spectre I have seen. Will you not speak to me?” The still silent Spirit conveyed her to the High Court. “I see it,” said Wood. “Let me behold what shall be in days to come.” Wood hastened to the window of his court, and looked in. A Judicial Review was under way.  Wood saw herself standing  looking dishevelled whilst giving evidence before the Judge.  The ignominy of her situation was radiating from the Wood in the witness box .

Wood’s office back at HQ. The Spirit stood among the desks and chairs, and pointed to one. Wood crept towards it, trembling as she went. Following the finger, she read upon the desk a name she did not recognise but the job title was hers.  Someone else now has my job!” she thought.  Next to the name plate was the result of the Judicial Review – found in favour of the pensioner – and a critical opinion of the Judge in the failures of AvonShire HR senior officers.  Wood recognised her own handwriting on a memo lying in the desk’s out-tray.  It was a notice of retirement letter. She mouthed, “I’ve been forced to retire”.

“No, Spirit! Oh no, no! Why show me this, if I am past all hope!”

Holding up her hands in one last prayer to have her fate reversed, the phantom vanished.

Wood scrambled out of bed, resolved to change her future. Running to the window, he put out her head and called downward to a boy. “Hello, my fine fellow,” she cried. “Do you know the Poulterer’s at the corner? Go and buy the prize Turkey that hangs up there.” The boy was off like a shot.

“I’ll send it to the all the IODs whose lives I have rolled over these past 2 years,” whispered Wood, rubbing her hands with merriment.

She got dressed in her best, went downstairs to open the street door, ready for the coming of the Turkey.

The boy returned, empty-handed. “Where’s the Turkey?” demanded Wood. The boy shrugged: “They say they’ll not sell anything to a heartless person such as you. They say the only Turkey you will see this Christmas is yourself.”

“Bah,” groaned old Wood. “Humbug!”

Lost in Space

Lost in Space
To boldly go where no sane HR director commander has gone before …

Acting Captain’s log, Stardate 2015.   I have assumed command at the request of … someone – perhaps even me. Our situation is deteriorating; many of the crew are unable to function and our life support systems are beginning to falter.”

Supplemental log. stardate 2015 Sector: Earth orbit. It looks like Earth but I am unsure. The crew are beginning to look at me with sideways glances. I fear I am losing their trust. My command is threatened. I must work out which planet we are near, or it may be too late to return through the wormhole.

On the bridge of the stalled starship Avonprise stood several of the bewildered senior officers and crew.

Second Lieutenant Jones adjusted a wedgie that was giving him gyp and said, to no-one in particular, “Is it just me, or is everyone on this ship monumentally f****d up about review missions?”

“What do you mean?” Bulpitt replied, a quizzical frown momentarily shadowing the studied bland innocence of his normal appearance.

“Well, I’m thinking that ever since Commander Zeeman was called back to Starfleet on that ‘misunderstanding’,  Commander Kern has put us all in these red jumpers. You know what happens when crew members wear red!” Jones said.

Dr Johnson arched an eyebrow at this. “What makes you say that, Jonesy?”

Before Jones could formulate a reply Galley Overseer Wood interjected into what would otherwise have been a long pause, “Well, we’re all replacing former crew members,” Wood pointed at Johnson and continued,“What happened to the one you replaced? Transferred out?”

“No,” said Johnson, “He was the death by vaporization one.”

“And mine got sucked out of the shuttle,” interjected Jones, who seemed to have momentarily regained focus. He continued, “And Nikolai  Garganov got eaten by a giant Octopus that was unable to keep its tentacles to itself. Maybe. Apparently. You have to admit there’s something going on there. Ever since that Borg Mountstevens tried to assimilate Kern, things have been weird around here. He said he escaped unharmed but I’m not too sure…”

Once started. Jones’ verbal diarrhoea was usually hard to stop, but he suddenly broke off as the communicator barked into life

“Travel time to the nearest uncontested completed review?” screamed the demanding voice of Kern.

Taking a deep sigh, Jones pressed the button and replied, “At maximum warp, in 2 years, 7 months, 3 days, 18 hours, we would reach a point where we can see infinity.” He quickly clicked the communicator off.

“Why does Commander Kern now think he is now a Starfleet captain?” questioned Wood, pouting.

“We have been captain-less for so long the power has driven him space-bat shit crazy,” opined Jones.

“Speaking of which,” Bulpitt said, motioning with his finger in the general direction of a spot behind Wood.

Jones and Johnson looked to where he pointed to see Kern materialise in a glowing circle of transporter light right in the middle of the bridge.

“Shields up! Rrrrred alert!” shouted Kern, as he shimmered into full materialisation. “I’m now controlling everything. You! Doc Johnson – every decision you ever made about anything doesn’t matter any more as I’m saying I can redo it. Final is no longer final and everything with an outcome is now not concluded.” He paused for dramatic effect as his words sank in, then continued, “And I am doing this just because I can,” he raved.

“But Commander Kern,” ventured Bulpitt nervously avoiding eye-contact with Kern whilst busily looking at his shoes, “Starfleet Prime Directives say that the Doctor is the only authority which is permitted to make the decisions on review missions.  All we can look at is the degree of disablement and that’s a medical question.  Even when he’s ballsed it all up …  ”,  Bulpitt shot an accusing glance at Johnson, “And he has.  Its got diddly-squat to do with any Commander.”

A hard, glazed look came into Kern’s eyes, and his face took on a flushed appearance. “I will continue, aboard this ship, to speak for the Borg. My orders are that you will continue, without further delay, to Sector 001, where my hive will force your unconditional surrender.” Looking imperiously about him, Kern continued, in a monotonous echoing tone, “We care not for your StarFleet directives. The Borg do what we want. I may be a lowly commander but I’ve been assimilated into the Borg collective and I now run this ship – and I will soon rule the whole universe, prime directives or not.”

“Oh well,” meekly ventured Wood, “looks like the whole galactic quadrant is up shit creek.”

Bulpitt turned to Wood and whispered in her ear, careful not be be overheard by Kern but thankful that the psychotic Borg drone was engaged in entering a long monologue about how he and his Borg buddies were doing exactly the opposite of what Starfleet directives and regulations demands of them.

“Death by falling rock. Death by toxic atmosphere. Death by pulse gun vaporization. It’s all good compared to being stuck on the same ship as this loon,” Bulpitt said.

“Death by shuttle door malfunction,” Wood whispered in reply.

“Death by ice shark,” Bulpitt replied.

“Death by what?” Wood said, blinking. “What the hell is an ice shark?”

“You got me,” Bulpitt said. “I had no idea there was such a thing.”

“Is it a shark made of ice?” Wood asked. “Or a shark that lives in ice?”

“It wasn’t specified at the time,” Bulpitt said.

“I’m thinking you should have called bullshit on the ice shark story,” Jones said, earwigging.

“Even if the details are sketchy, it fits your larger point,” Bulpitt said. “People here have review missions on the brain.”

“It’s because someone always meets one’s end on them,” Wood said.

At this point the utter confusion, petty bickering, position-protecting and empire building was thankfully brought to a sudden end as the starship Avonprise was blown to smithereens by a missile launched from deep hyperspace by the all-powerful Guardians of Law and Decency.