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.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/police_injury_pensions_117#incoming-742659

REQUEST RESPONSE
 

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.

 

 

A Tale of Two Cities

2 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Cities

  • 2015-12-20 at 11:14 am
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    The more I read about the antics of Avon and Somerset Constabulary, the more I think that the Home Office should be getting involved. How can one force be allowed to treat their retired officers in such a despicable way? I have the utmost sympathy for those who have lived under such pressure for so long. Avon and Somerset should be grateful they haven’t had a suicide on their hands.
    Your new Chief Constable should be sorting those out who have been guilty of wrong doing.




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  • 2015-12-20 at 11:09 am
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    Definitely a tale of two cities, you could even say one of the Forces was Dickensian in its attitude towards the elderly and infirm who they see as of being of “no benefit”




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