Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.”
― Anaïs Nin
It seems that those who oversee the administration of injury awards in Staffordshire Police have rather a special collection of ineptness. Quite a feat to combine the malevolence of Northumbria with the idiocy of Avon & Somerset.
For a force that officially signed a contract and abandoned reviews in 2008, the errors and illegalities in the letter they have sent out to all those retired with an injury award is exceedingly far beyond any, even the twisted mind, could conjure up.
We’ve published the missive in full at the end of this post.
Rather than pointing out the obvious conflict this letter has with the Regulations and case law – such as the invented duty that the 2015 Police Pension Regulations* forces them to do this (!) and the continual use of the word “reassessment“, today we are going to talk about this paragraph:
This letter is just to inform you of the reassessment programme. Whilst I acknowledge this may cause you some anxiety, I regret that at this point in time I am unable to enter into correspondence with you about your personal circumstances. You will be written to again directly in due course when your injury pension comes up for review. The process is expected to take at least eighteen months, so it may be some time before you are written to again about this.
*(Very naughty Staffordshire! A blatant lie! In fact these Regulations has no implications on injury awards as they only refer to the Career Average Revalued Earnings Scheme (CARE) scheme and the lower/enhanced tier only applicable to those retired on this 2015 pension scheme – the PIBR 2006 Regulations are the only regulations that concern injury on duty awards)
Wow! Sending an unsolicited letter, that they know (or don’t care perhaps out of complete indifference) will cause or manifest an existing diagnosis of a mental health illness, to a cohort of disabled individuals – some with severe PTSD, all with a protected characteristic under the Equality Act – and then sign-off by saying that they will happily prolong the assault for up to 18 months….
Just Wow!… What cave has Staffordshire been living in for the past five years?
The Department of Work and Pensions received a drubbing in the Court of Appeal back in 2013. Court judges upheld a decision that the ATOS assessments for sickness and disability benefits discriminate against people with mental health conditions. This followed an earlier decision by the Upper Tribunal that the Work Capability Assessment – the notorious computer based test which has led to hundreds of thousands of claimants declared ‘fit for work’ – substantially disadvantaged those with mental health problems.
The Appeal Court said:
Tribunal was satisfied that the difficulties faced by [mental health patients] placed them at a substantial disadvantage when compared with other disabled persons who do not experience mental health problems
The judges found that:
So to speak the obvious; who has Staffordshire seen fit to sent a mass mailing list to, warning the recipient that they will spend the next 18 months in purgatory whilst knowing full well that what they intend to do will cause them harm?
Rhetorical answer: Only to members of the public with both physical and mental illness, who are permanently disabled and who are proportionally certain to have many of the mental health disorders that are caused by a combination of factors, including changes in the brain and environmental stress.
Bizarrely this was sent out to even the people they have unilaterally decided not to review such as those band ones and those over 72.
Even those with a terminal illness recieved this letter. Whilst it’s excellent that they won’t be further victimised whilst end of life, but why stress them with irrelevance? – an example why mass mailshots to those with a protected characteristic without due public sector equality duty compliance is unlawful.
Though we are experienced in the dark-arts of those who administer injury awards, IODPA is still perpetually amazed that some police forces think those that get injured and permanently disabled on duty have no rights.
Avon & Somersent DCC Gareth Morgan may be thinking that becoming this force’s chief may not be a wise career move after all!