The Judicial Fallacy

“All the fallacies of human reason had to be exhausted, before the light of a high truth could meet with ready acceptance.”
Friedrich Max Müller

Here at IODPA we are seeing regular references, made by people who should know better, to the Selected Medical Practitioner (SMP) having standing  akin to a Coroner or a Judge with case management powers. Indeed some SMPs have referred to themselves as being involved in a judicial process and acting as judges  (not only have we had anecdotal feedback incorporating these common themes, we have seen the reports containing such fallacious proclamations firsthand).

Before we look at the veracity of these claims  and their origins a brief understanding of the law is required. So lets test the proposition; is the claim of an SMP being a Judicial Office Holder valid or a convenient  invention?

Origins

The doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty is the cornerstone of our democracy. This legal doctrine means that parliament makes the law in the form of Statutes and gives authority to the provision of secondary legislation such as the Police Injury Benefit Regulations.

The Brexit debate and recent Miller case has brought this sharply into focus. In the Simpson High Court Judgement it was ruled that the attempt by a Home Office Civil Servant to issue guidance undermined Regulations and Case law. You cannot usurp Parliamentary Sovereignty and import meaning or intention which does not exist. The Home Office withdrew its guidance and directed Chief Constables to legislation and case law as referenced in the Simpson Judgement.

NAMF

The rule of law is another fundamental concept in our legal traditions. As Police Officers we had to accept the decisions of the courts after all we were servants of the law. The Home Office had no choice but to rightly recognise their errors when they were ruled to have acted unlawfully by Mr Justice Supperstone, and (with rapped knuckles and burnt fingers) withdrew their guidance as not to prolong their humiliation.

This unlawful guidance was much, much more than just a costly mistake.  Arguably it was pursued voraciously by some forces with eyes wide open.  It made many injured former Police officers face financial ruin including homelessness as well as the emotional trauma.  The costs to the taxpayer were enormous and the only winners would appear to have been the SMP’s paid to conduct these reviews and the Barristers acting for the Police.

Lessons were learnt by some, unlawful reviews were suspended.  The country’s largest force, The Metropolitan Police, does not undertake reviews unless requested by the former officer. However, there were those who couldn’t accept the rule of law; after-all, they parochially thought, why should those who were unable to work or have their earning capacity reduced, having put themselves in harms way and lost their careers and become disabled, receive an injury award?

Well, we have yet to meet a HR minion who has walked a mile in our  shoes, or any distance for that matter. The award is deserved both morally and legally. Parliamentary intention was to recompense Police officers who could no longer serve due to their injuries, the bands reflected the loss in earning capacity. The explanatory memorandum to the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulation was prepared by the Home Office and had been laid before Parliament by Command of Her Majesty; it says without ambiguity that police injury awards:

“…[] are in effect compensation for work-related injuries”7. Policy background EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM 2006 No.932

The void created by the Home Office withdrawing from providing any central guidance was filled by the National Attendance Management Forum ( NAMF ).  Perhaps the Home Office considered that having a proxy would avoid them again facing the wrath of the High Court.

Interestingly not all 43 forces are involved in NAMF. That speaks volumes itself. NAMF is now chaired by the Head of Human Resources at Northumbria Police, Leslie-Ann Knowles, and it’s chief legal advisor is Nicholas Wirz – Solicitor of Northumbria Police. NAMF delegates  have included FMAs, SMPs, PMAB members, HR managers and Force Solicitors  as well as Mr Trevor Forbes who represents Police Forces at PMAB.

Naturally, we at IODPA are concerned about this as it would appear to breach the rule against bias. We’ll leave that issue for another blog and a High Court case submission.

NAMF has devised its own guidance , section 4.3 Case Management Powers of an SMP, there is reference to a quasi-judicial process. Some SMPs have been told they have powers similar to those of a Coroner or a Judge at NAMF training events. The SMPs have repeated this erroneous view in their assessments.  A recurring theme in some reports made by SMPs who have attended courses presented by Wirz, is that they claim the position of ‘SMP’ empowers them to be able to make any direction or demand.  No matter how unreasonable, discriminatory or contrary to primary legislation that demand actually is.

Serving and retired Police officer’s have told us about their assessments, the SMP likening themselves to a judge is a recurring theme.  So the phoenix has risen from the ashes and the Home Office Guidance has been resurrected in the form of NAMF guidance. Our members have repeatedly, and wrongly, been told by SMPs and HR staff that NAMF guidance is mandatory and must be followed.

There is a direct correlation to those forces involved in NAMF, unlawful reviews PMABS and JRs.  Mr Wirz, whose zealousness is not diminished by losing previous High Court cases, continues to spread his views which have no anchor in law.

Compare and contrast

The role of SMP is cited in the regulations. They are medically qualified doctors (or should be, we have encountered a physiotherapist). NAMF have introduced the mandatory requirement that membership of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine is required. SMPs are selected by individual  Police Forces. Coroners on the other hand are experienced lawyers or medical professionals whose appointment is approved by the Chief Coroner and the Lord Chancellor.

Coroners are Judicial Officer holders and must take the judicial oath. Judges are recruited via the Judicial Appointments Commission, their appointment must be approved by the Lord Chancellor, again they are Judicial Officer holders and must take the judicial oath.

Training is organised by the Judicial College, similarly, a formal disciplinary framework exists for the judiciary.  So when did the foundations of constitutional law that has central importance to the maintenance of judicial independence fracture and rip to such an extent to allow SMPs become quasi-Judges and Mr Wirz and NAMF the judiciaries’ training provider?  Of course, in the real world, there has been no such rupture.  The foundations of judicial appointment are still wholly intact.  Only Wirz thinks differently.  The edicts of NAMF cannot stand scrutiny.

The Simpson case should have acted as a warning. The Pensions Ombudsman case in Lightfoot v West Yorkshire Police at paragraph 33 encapsulates how innovation is occurring:

“….As has been found by my office in other cases (for example, Ayres 27979/2 and Sharp 80008/1) it is not appropriate to try and impose a meaning on the relevant Regulations which they do not hold simply because the Home Office (or the WYPA) think that logically they should. This was an error of law, albeit that WYPA was following Home Office guidance and was acting in good faith.”

The status of the SMP has been pushed by NAMF from that of a Doctor to that of a Judge.  This leap has no basis in law.  Legal chicanery as a description does a disservice because this goes far beyond that into the realms of a fantasist.

Powers conferred on police officers by primary legislation, such as those defined by Police and Criminal Evidence Act, are a statutory licence that do not empower any judicial functions onto an Inspector, say, authorising a search.  Can that Inspector forgo the need to reasonably believe the premises may contain evidence linked to the offence in question?  Of course not.  Taking the illogical thinking of Wirz to the extreme, if the Inspector thought the same as a SMP, and considered they were a judge, they could ignore PACE and sign their own warrant of entry.

The SMP is not a judicial office holder but a doctor  – a medical authority asked to answer a statutory question based on available medical evidence, in the same manner as a power of entry and search under s18 cannot be exercised without the statutory requirement of prior written authorisation of an officer of the rank of inspector or above.

A SMP can’t invent evidence.  He isn’t a judge in an inquisitorial system –  a legal system where the court or a part of the court is actively involved in investigating the facts of the case.  He is a doctor; simply asked a medical question that statute demands a referral to him or her by a police pension authority.  Statute does not gift any magical power to answer the question – only to use his medical training to make sense of the medical information presented to him.

To suggest otherwise is a fallacy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Judicial Fallacy

15 thoughts on “The Judicial Fallacy

  • 2017-02-18 at 12:28 pm
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    Thanks to the existence now of IODPA we are getting to see how many Police Forces are involved in the threatening and bullying conduct of HR departments across the country. Now they are teamed up with weird solicitors to back up their threats. Since when was a solicitor required except by an IOD pensioner in an appeal against unlawful reviews? and how come there are so many appeals going on these days? The answer to that is this ‘technique’ now used by HR departments assisted by crap SMP’s who are more like farts in bottles than they are like our GP’s. Take off the bottle lid and pure poison pours out! Lying, exaggerating and making up whatever they can think of to reduce any and all IOD bandings.

    It is well time now for Chief Constables to take responsibility, it is after all their duty and they are the ones supposed to be running the ‘teams’ involved in IOD retirement and reviews. SHAME ON THEM!

    As for NAMF? It reminds me of one of the things we are told as trainee police officers, we need to know the who, what, when, where and why of that bunch!!

  • 2017-02-13 at 8:53 am
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    Some SMPs appear to have taken the Hippocritical oath.

    Hypocrisy is the contrivance of a false appearance of virtue or goodness, while concealing real character or inclinations.

  • 2017-02-13 at 8:01 am
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    SMPs have not practiced as medics for a long time and merely hold a out dated degree.
    They have a blatant lack of understanding about what policing involves and the toll it takes on officers and familys. The egos and ignorance of SMPs and there road shows sickens me.
    There conduct is very close to criminal fraud.

  • 2017-02-12 at 11:14 pm
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    Having just been diagnosed with PTSD and Paranoia after resigning 15 years ago I no longer care re your attendance management, you are in the main ruthless, uncaring, self centred, egotistical, hateful, despicable excuses for human beings. Police forces will continue to loose good officers no matter how these clowns re brand themselves. I begged and begged for help and was ignored time and time again with more pressure added continually until I walked away injured, broken and destroyed. You people at NAMF are a boys club with no understanding of compassion, humanity or loyalty. People mean nothing to you, just numbers, well when you cannot recruit enough and good officers resign or through no fault of their own get seriously injured who is going to stand between the monsters in society and the citizens, you Mr Wirz? I think not!

  • 2017-02-12 at 2:17 pm
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    Coroners are Judicial Officer holders and must take the judicial oath.
    SMP’s you are doctors and took the hippocratic oath, have a look at the words of that oath again.
    It ends by saying
    If I carry out this oath and do not break it, may I find satisfaction in life and the practice of my profession and may I deserve honour among men forever.

  • 2017-02-08 at 2:01 pm
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    They unfortunately will never learn!
    In a perfect world, where reviews are carried out as per the standing legislation, and relevant case law, serving cops who need and qualify for IHR & IOD, there would be no need for IODPA.
    However, the Lunatics are now running the Asylum, the Chief Constable is just a Civilian’s puppet. The golden adage of, if it wasn’t for the Police Officers, you wouldn’t have a job is long gone, and we are left with a pack of stubborn, lying, useless loonies, who wouldn’t know the truth, or fact, if it leapt up from their desk, and punched them on the end of the nose.
    Black is White until such a time that they tell you it isn’t.
    They have gone and dug a great big hole, and unless they have a change of heart, they will just carry on digging an even bigger hole.

  • 2017-02-08 at 9:41 am
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    The following poem applies to all genders, of course…

    The Man In The Glass – by Peter Dale Wimbrow Sr.

    When you get what you want in your struggle for self
    And the world makes you king for a day
    Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
    And see what that man has to say.

    For it isn’t your father, or mother, or wife
    Whose judgment upon you must pass
    The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
    Is the one staring back from the glass.

    He’s the fellow to please – never mind all the rest
    For he’s with you, clear to the end
    And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test
    If the man in the glass is your friend.

    You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
    And get pats on the back as you pass
    But your final reward will be heartache and tears
    If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

    —————–

    To the IODPA team: I am happy to contribute to a ‘mirror fund’ to send a gift to Citizen Wirz et al. It could have a nice inscription. Perhaps: ‘Primum non nocere.’

    We all make mistakes. It is important that we reflect (excuse the pun) on the impact of the choices that we make. On others, as well as ourselves. Vital, that we look in the ‘glass’ and ask ‘am I doing the right thing?’ It is crucial, that we then change our future behaviour. That way, this World will be a better place. That can do no harm.

  • 2017-02-07 at 9:57 pm
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    I concur with the views above an excellent well written Blog. It beggars belief that the Chief Constables involved in these reviews are allowing the process to be conducted in their name.

    It should also be highlighted that the costs of conducting these failed reviews is astronomical and those greedy individuals profiting from this corrupt process should be held to account.

  • 2017-02-07 at 9:38 pm
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    Dear SMP’s.

    You are not any sort of Judge. Sadly, most of you are not any sort of Doctor either. The Police would not be allowed to perform such “inquisitorial” interviews on prisoners in their custody in the manner that certain SMP’s conduct these pension review assessments on ill, injured and often vulnerable pensioners.

    But, as so-called Doctors, who display none of the attributes or skills to be ‘real’ Doctors, you should beware. Your reign is over. You have a primary duty of care to your patients. And, whether you like it or not, when you are medically assessing pensioners for a review, they are your patients.

    You have been found out.

    Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will be supported by NAMF.

    You will stand alone.

    You do well to do a bit of revision. Remember “First, do no harm?”

  • 2017-02-07 at 5:03 pm
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    Once again a brilliant and informative blog from the IODPA. It shows yet again what a corrupt load of bastards they are bending the rules to suit themselves. Do they just make it up as they go along. How childish to fill in the gaps with what you think should be there. How dare they second guess the legislators.
    Wirz should write a little red book of guidance for real judges, he could call it ‘Mein Namf.

  • 2017-02-06 at 9:26 pm
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    “– only to use his medical training to make sense of the medical information presented to him.” The trouble is that a lot of these SMPs have long since lost all their medical knowledge and are at the bottom of the heap! It must have been a real revelation to them to be once again employed and earning exorbitant amounts of money just for doing what the HR departments want! It’s a complete disgrace.

    The Chief Constables are responsible for this unlawful behaviour. It’s about time these people carrying out these actions, including Chief Constables, SMPs and Human Resource Officials are brought to account.

  • 2017-02-06 at 9:02 pm
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    Excellent blog, well done IODPA for highlighting corrupt practices to us. None of us really knew what was going on behind the scenes and how these vile sub humans would do anything to circumvent the law in their quest to hit disabled police officers.
    How do Chief Constables sleep at night knowing what is being done to their troops?
    Many SMPS are so narcissistic that being told they are Judges are right up their street.
    I see ‘Karen’ got a mention, our ‘Philip’ also fits in to the mould of being full of ones self importance and likes to tell us how not many doctors are trained to be SMPS……no, the real doctors are doing proper ‘doctor’ work, rather than screw vulnerable people. The complete opposite of their whole professional being.

    Keep the blogs coming IODPA, you are getting a really good following.

    All my mates who are still serving, all know about IODPA. They appreciate that all you do will inevitably help them should the worse happen and they are injured.

    Long live IODPA.

  • 2017-02-06 at 7:08 pm
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    Thank you so very much for all the amazing research, and also your resilience in this undertaking to rid us of the need to be subjected to these reviews. It is beyond my comprehension that they are allowed to carry on the way that they are. I feel the pain for every Iod still being subjected to seemingly unlawful demands that causes extreme stress at best and the potential of the loss of their homes.

    The outstanding support that IoDPA provides is very much needed and valued by all.

    Keep fighting it. Goliath will go down in the end.

  • 2017-02-06 at 10:05 am
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    Honest and decent Chief Constables need to wake up to what is being done in their name. (I exclude the CC of Northumbria from this, as he must be all too aware of what Wirz is up to, and why). Under the evil influence of Wirz, in some areas the police injury pension scheme is being corrupted, and disabled officers and former officers are being cheated out of their pensions.

    Chief Constables are the Police Pension Authority. This appears to have been engineered by the Home Office. How can a CC, who needs to worry about force budgets, visibly and convincingly separate that duty from his duty as PPA to properly manage the injury pension scheme for the benefit of members? The temptation to try to reduce injury pension payments, or to even avoid granting injury awards, is just too great for some.

    Wirz, and the compliant elements of the NAMF who have allowed this wolf into their midst, are abusing the Regulations with astoundingly arrant nonsense such as this, from the official looking guidance entitled Procedural Guidance Notes for Assessing and Re-Assessing the Degree of Disablement as a Result of an Injury Recieved in the Execution of Police Duties:

    ‘4.3.1 SMP’s operate in a quasi-judicial capacity. If the judgment of SMP’s is that they consider it necessary to obtain additional medical records, they are in a position to direct the pensioner to supply these.’

    Pardon me!? A doctor has the power to direct a private citizen to supply them with sensitive personal information? I don’t think so, Wirzy-boy.

    And this:

    ‘4.3.2 If the SMP’s, in their judgement consider it necessary to seek additional specialist opinion, they are at liberty to do this and they may direct the pensioner to attend any such consultation.’

    WTF!? A doctor can direct a private citizen to go see a specialist? Pull the other one Wirzy-boy – you are having a larf!

    Who believes this crap? Oh, yes, some SMPs actually think this is great and wise stuff. They lap it up, don’t they? (Karen, I am talking about you). Its nice to be told you have such power. Makes you feel good about yourself and helps you forget that you don’t actually practice medicine any more (if you ever did). Healing the sick and bringing comfort to the injured and all that messy stuff. Helps you justify to yourself that you are a not a waste of a medical degree. Of course, the reward you hope to get for facilitating Wirz in his grand plan to get a central national SMP unit to do all the police pension reviews is a place in a nice office with a view and a job for life. A nice little earner.

    Well, SMPs can be willing particpants in this scandal, but Chief Constables who let this go on under their noses are either idiots or crooks.

    Wirz is a stain on the legal profesion. After that case where it was revealed how he threatened a group of elderly, vulnerable disabled former officers with being saddled with costs of thousands of pounds if they brought their ‘vexatious’ appeals against an unlawful decision to reduce their pensions because they had reached the age of 65, he should have been sacked.

    The fact that he not only was allowed to continue in his job, along with crafty sidekick Dr Broome, reveals all you need to know about Northumbria Police top management.

    It is time that someone looked into this corruption.

  • 2017-02-05 at 9:54 pm
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    Knowledge is power. IODPA continue to shine a light into the darkest recesses of the murky world of Police Pensions.

Comments are closed.

This group of police force HR managers, occupational health personnel and the odd force solicitor is supposedly concerned in its quarterly meetings with keeping the police workforce fit and well. The clue is in the name - it is supposed to concentrate on people who work. However, it spends time also considering matters relating to disabled former officers. Quite what legitimates this group's interest in disabled private citizens who are in receipt of a police injury pension is a mystery.

The mystery deepens when it is revealed that the Home Office and representatives of the commercial company which has the contract to run Police Medical Appeal Boards, HML, also regularly appear on the list of delegates. The mystery morphs into something smelling of conspiracy when the delegate list is entirely absent of any representative of any of the people whose lives the NAMF seeks to affect. There is nobody from the Police Federation, nor from NARPO, nor anyone from any disablement charity, mental health association, etc. etc. In other words, the NAMF is a one-sided talking shop. Even at that level it is not properly representative of all police forces, for we note that there are rarely, if ever, delegates present from every area.

Those of us with long memories, recollect that the Home Office claimed that it had conducted what it called a 'survey' of all forces, way back in 2004, prior to finalising its unlawful guidance issued as Annex C to HO circular 46/2004. The HO claimed that their survey showed that it was common practice for forces to review the degree of disablement of injury-on-duty pensioners once they reached what would have been normal force retirement age. This is what the guidance said:

'This Guidance is being issued to help ensure a fairer, more cohesive approach to the payment of injury benefits to ill-health retired officers who have reached the compulsory retirement age with their Force. A recent survey found that practice in this area was diverse. Some forces automatically reduced degree of disablement benefits to the lowest banding when this age had been reached - others continued to pay benefits at the same rate until the death of the Officer concerned.'

The plain truth, revealed through Freedom of Information Act requests, was that there never was any survey. The HO later tried to claim that the bold, unmistakable claim made in its guidance resulted from 'round the table discussions' at meetings of the NAMF. Yet nothing even hinting at such discussions appeared in the minutes and the HO could not produce a single scrap of data nor any record or any other evidence to show quite how it had come to the conclusion that some forces automatically reduced benefits to the lowest band at what would have been normal force retirement age.

Shockingly, further research revealed that absolutely no forces, not a single one out of the 43 in England and Wales, had ever reduced benefits to the lowest band at what would have been normal force retirement age, automatically or otherwise. The Home Office was caught out in a blatant lie. It was a lie intended for one purpose only - its actually intent was to give an air of normalcy to the huge change in practice which the HO wished to bring about.

This astounding act by a Government department tells us what the NAMF was then, and remains now. It's objective in so far as police injury on duty pensions is concerned, is to subvert the law of the land. The law cannot be changed retrospectively, so the inner circle work to find ways to unlawfully manipulate it through influencing gullible HR managers, and by training carefully selected corruptible SMPs how to refuse grant of an injury award and how to conduct reviews which reduce the degree of disablement of retired officers.

And so the machinations of the NAMF continue...

This group of police force HR managers, occupational health personnel and the odd force solicitor is supposedly concerned in its quarterly meetings with keeping the police workforce fit and well. The clue is in the name - it is supposed to concentrate on people who work. However, it spends time also considering matters relating to disabled former officers. Quite what legitimates this group's interest in disabled private citizens who are in receipt of a police injury pension is a mystery.

The mystery deepens when it is revealed that the Home Office and representatives of the commercial company which has the contract to run Police Medical Appeal Boards, HML, also regularly appear on the list of delegates. The mystery morphs into something smelling of conspiracy when the delegate list is entirely absent of any representative of any of the people whose lives the NAMF seeks to affect. There is nobody from the Police Federation, nor from NARPO, nor anyone from any disablement charity, mental health association, etc. etc. In other words, the NAMF is a one-sided talking shop. Even at that level it is not properly representative of all police forces, for we note that there are rarely, if ever, delegates present from every area.

Those of us with long memories, recollect that the Home Office claimed that it had conducted what it called a 'survey' of all forces, way back in 2004, prior to finalising its unlawful guidance issued as Annex C to HO circular 46/2004. The HO claimed that their survey showed that it was common practice for forces to review the degree of disablement of injury-on-duty pensioners once they reached what would have been normal force retirement age. This is what the guidance said:

'This Guidance is being issued to help ensure a fairer, more cohesive approach to the payment of injury benefits to ill-health retired officers who have reached the compulsory retirement age with their Force. A recent survey found that practice in this area was diverse. Some forces automatically reduced degree of disablement benefits to the lowest banding when this age had been reached - others continued to pay benefits at the same rate until the death of the Officer concerned.'

The plain truth, revealed through Freedom of Information Act requests, was that there never was any survey. The HO later tried to claim that the bold, unmistakable claim made in its guidance resulted from 'round the table discussions' at meetings of the NAMF. Yet nothing even hinting at such discussions appeared in the minutes and the HO could not produce a single scrap of data nor any record or any other evidence to show quite how it had come to the conclusion that some forces automatically reduced benefits to the lowest band at what would have been normal force retirement age.

Shockingly, further research revealed that absolutely no forces, not a single one out of the 43 in England and Wales, had ever reduced benefits to the lowest band at what would have been normal force retirement age, automatically or otherwise. The Home Office was caught out in a blatant lie. It was a lie intended for one purpose only - its actually intent was to give an air of normalcy to the huge change in practice which the HO wished to bring about.

This astounding act by a Government department tells us what the NAMF was then, and remains now. It's objective in so far as police injury on duty pensions is concerned, is to subvert the law of the land. The law cannot be changed retrospectively, so the inner circle work to find ways to unlawfully manipulate it through influencing gullible HR managers, and by training carefully selected corruptible SMPs how to refuse grant of an injury award and how to conduct reviews which reduce the degree of disablement of retired officers.

And so the machinations of the NAMF continue...