“If there is anything more annoying in the world than having people talk about you, it is certainly having no one talk about you.”
― Oscar Wilde
A bogeyman (also spelled bogieman, boogeyman, or boogie man) is a monstrous imaginary figure. But it seems that some HR Departments believe he is real and even now stalks the land in human form.
The bogeyman of legend and fairy tale has no specific appearance. Children are told stories of shadowy shapes that flit into the corner of one’s eye and then disappear. The bogeyman might live under the bed, or in the wardrobe, or might be lurking in the dark overgrown bushes at the bottom of the garden. No matter where he hides, he is out to get you, so beware. Hurry home, children, dive into bed and pull up the covers so he can’t seize you by the toes and drag you off to his lair.
HR managers give the bogeyman more corporeal form and substance. They seem to think that the bogeyman appears in the borrowed shape of disabled former police officers. A guise quite at odds with the spirit of the legends and, as a modern take on a traditional myth, is really very inventive and clearly the product of a disturbed mind.
The etymology of the word “bogeyman” is uncertain, as is when it first appeared in the English language. Some sources date it to the 16th century, while others to around 1836, as a term for the Devil.
The Devil is now, according to the rumour mill being circulated by some police forces, stalking and abusing, not children, but stoical adult medical practitioners who work for police forces. By these accounts one force in particular is telling people, ‘that a doctor has been subject to stalking and that threats have been made against FMAs [Force Medical Advisors] by a campaign group’.
We at IODPA are extremely shocked and concerned at this revelation. Apparently there is a militant and anarchist campaign group out there that is actively seeking out and physically targeting force medical advisors (selected medical practitioners were not mentioned). The force spreading this malicious and unsubstantiated gossip mentions FMAs, plural – as in more than one single incidence. The source of this fairy tale we suspect to emanate from the National Attendance Management Forum, which is where HR managers and others gather together, safety in numbers, to exchange gossip and misinformation.
The unsubstantiated Chinese whispers we have heard are that the stalking typically involves a sped-up chase scene involving a crew of scantily-clad injured persons hobbling with their canes and struggling with their mental illness, with a doctor being the one chased, due to silly predicaments that he himself caused. A take-off on the stereotypical Keystone Kops chase scenes.
In all seriousness, we are in IODPA a cooperative made up solely of responsible, adult, medically retired police officers, who were all injured in the execution of their duty. It is generally known that it takes a high standard of character to be recruited into the police and that police work can be dangerous. Our members were all injured through no fault of their own and are now disabled members of the public with a strong core of moral code. We have been subjected to unlawful behaviour by police pension authorities but we will never reciprocate like with like. Injustice cannot be overcome with injustice.
The injuries of our members range from physical to psychological. Quite often the physical injuries have psychological repercussions. The psychological injuries are often extremely severe.
Perhaps IODPA is being too precious, but we hope that the Devil that these forces believe is stalking doctors is not meant to be a reference to us.
We therefore challenge any FMA, SMP or HR person to produce concrete proof of these allegations. If any person has been stalked, tell us who, when and where. If there was evidence of harassment, abuse and threats then any competent and independent person would expect there to be a criminal investigation and a prosecution. It speaks volumes that there has been no such thing. All police forces should be above the childish playground behaviour of spreading rumours.
In the meantime, we will take these bogeyman tales as no more than a foul ploy to divert attention away from the very real, and evidenced accounts of harassment and, yes, stalking, of disabled former police officers by police forces.
The fact is, members of our association have been stalked. There are instances where people with IOD awards have been put unlawfully under surveillance. We can never forget the case of the West Midlands consultant psychiatrist, Dr Nicholas Cooling, who personally hired a team of private detectives to stake out and video an injured police officer. The GMC suspended him over that little lapse of ethics.
Another tale of harassment concerns a former South Wales officer whose police career ended after he was severely traumatised following the 2002 clash between Cardiff City and Leeds United fans, and who won a victory in 2009 against South Wales Police, which had kept him under surveillance for months. The Police Medical Appeal Board (PMAB) was highly critical of South Wales Police, which had claimed he was not entitled to an injury award. The Appeal Board adjudication said video evidence of him was irrelevant. Material disclosed subsequently showed that 11 officers from South Wales Police and the neighbouring Dyfed-Powys force were used to spy on him for months in an operation estimated to have cost more than £100,000.
There have been too may instances to list here where a person with an IOD award has been abused and harassed over a course of years not just by a SMP but also by the bullying machinations of a zealous and uncaring HR department.
We will mention one incident, which concerns a very ill retired former officer who was summoned to be reviewed. Two friends drove him to the appointment at the force’s occupational health offices, and waited for him in the car-park. When the review was under way a uniformed police officer with their epaulettes removed came out of the building and blatantly took photographs of the waiting vehicle and the occupants. Here was no RIPA authority, nothing that allowed this intrusion into civil liberty. Not prepared to be taken at a disadvantage, the occupants themselves took a picture or two of the uniformed officer taking pictures. Then a doctor came out of the building, walked up to the car and spoke to those within saying, ‘Do you want a close up?’
We know of another incident where a person with complex psychological issues was forced to undergo a review just because he was a band four. Despite his condition down-turning and his clinicians warning the force and evidencing his severe deterioration during the months of delay cause by the police pension authority, the force in question kept up their sanctimonious fishing trip. This sorry episode was reported in this blog post.
Driven to the realms beyond madness he told his crisis clinician during a mental health crisis team counselling session that he wanted to kill those who he saw were harming him. This clinician took the threats seriously and was duty bound to escalate his concerns to the relevant authorities. There are always two sides to every story.
The shameful outcome of this shameful event is the force ‘deferred‘ the review (a made up thing that does not exist in the Regulations), saying the former officer is too ill and that he should be reviewed again in 3 months, ‘when he is better’.
A review isn’t a benign thing. It damages people. And if they are damaged already they become more and more unstable. IODPA does not condone unlawful behaviour. That said, we can understand why someone with complex PTSD isn’t always in control of their own responses.
When a force proclaims that a campaign group is physically threatening Doctors, and it uses this as an excuse to withhold information, it tarnishes everyone. This circus show encourages guilt by association, and seeks to demonise all disabled former officers. We say, you hypocrites, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly there is no speck in our brother’s eye.
IODPA only asks for fairness, respect and the fundamental and lawful following of the Regulations.
Those injured former officers who contribute to this association are all law abiding citizens.
If only those that administer the police injury award scheme were as conscientious as we are.