Month: May 2017

We’ve Come a Long Way…

We’ve Come a Long Way…

“Bottom line is, even if you see ’em coming, you’re not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come. You can’t help that. It’s what you do afterwards that counts. That’s when you find out who you are.”
Joss Whedon

On the last Friday in the month of May three years ago, in the undoubtedly swanky splendour of his official residence in the Portishead headquarters of Avon & Somerset Police, Julian Kern the newly titled Director of Resources must have given a good impression of a coiled snake preparing to leap.  Eager to dig his fangs into the seemingly juicy and succulent meat of a defenceless prey, Julian had seized on Police and Crime commissioner Sue Mountstevens’s decision to reduce what she saw as the unproductive cost of honouring the force’s obligation to pay injury awards to disabled former police officers.

Kern was a finance director before he was given the dual responsibility of HR. Thus Mountstevens’s plan made perfect sense to his pounds and pence mind. Pay pensioners less, and use the money elsewhere.  To Kern it must have seemed to be a no-brainer. In the event it was, but not in the way he anticipated. Kern as a snake bared his fangs and leaped, only to strike not soft yielding flesh but concrete, ‘honey badger-like’ resolve.

Sixteen former officers were selected to have their injury pensions reviewed. The selection was made on the basis they were all in receipt of the highest level of injury pension and were all relatively young. In the warped minds of Kern and Mountstevens, the sixteen represented a long term drain on the force budget. They were a carefully chosen sample whose injury awards stood to be paid for the greatest number of years unless they could be reduced. As they were on the highest band there was no danger of their pensions being increased by a review – they could, however, with a fair wind and a compliant SMP be reduced.

Let us just remind ourselves what Mountstevens wrote to the then Policing Minister in August 2013. She wrote:

I have recently been looking into the area of “injured on duty” (IOD)  police officer pension enhancements and found that a significant part of my budget is consumed every year on these payments which generate no benefit to the people of Avon & Somerset.’

Let’s  also just remind ourselves what Mountstevens put on record at a HR Portfolio Update meeting, minuted at page 6.

Injury on Duty – The OCC have over 300 ex-officers receiving IOD enhancements costing c£6m in total per annum. This is very high compared to other forces.  There is a duty to review these and OCC are now conducting a “test” review of 16 cases – stating with the youngest/highest bands.’

So, the sixteen were selected not for any reason to believe their disablement had improved. They were to be guinea pigs to test the plan to reduce the cost of paying injury pensions.

Moreover, disabled former officers were seen as nothing more than a worthless burden.

Mountstevens even made the odious and crassly inappropriate comparison of those former officers who had been injured on duty through no fault of their own with a fleet of high mileage cars.

The annual cost of these lOD’s to the force is in excess of £5.5m (2% of our annual budget). This is more than it costs us to run our fleet . . .

It was against this money-grabbing background that Kern considered it highly likely that he, and his Z-team of HR minions and doctors (cough) Bulpitt and Johnson, could whizz through reviews of the injury pensions of all 500 disabled former officers in nine months.

Supernintendo Markay & Peter Owens of Merseyside, Stephen Mitchell of Nottinghamshire and Lesley Ann Knowles of Northumbria all squawked a tuneless wail from the same accountant’s hymn-sheet.

Reality dawned soon enough. What seemed like a walk in the park, resulting in some handy savings, turned into a slog in thigh deep mud.  Pensioners pointed out to the PCC and to HR and Kern that the reviews were being conducted unlawfully. The promise of a swift conclusion of a mass review program dissipated rapidly as the realisation dawned that pensioners were well organised and would fight for their rights. Of the sixteen original reviews, a significant portion of those sixteen still haven’t received closure from the unlawful review process. Four of the sixteen are still awaiting conclusion – three years later; a further two are still undergoing appeals to PMAB. As to the remaining 486 IOD pensioners – they have had to live with the uncertainty generated by the prospect of a review for three years now.

To date, Mountstevens and Kern have cost ‘the people of Avon & Somerset‘ ™ ~ Sue Mountstevens hundreds of thousands of pounds (yes, you read that correctly, that’s six figure numbers we’re talking) in their fruitless attempt to abuse the police pension regulations. Most of the money pocketed by the SMP, Dr Philip Johnson.

Throughout the self-generated pandemonium of a team of incompetents doing something they don’t understand how to do it, when asked, Kern has always disingenuously stated that everything is to plan and he is doing it all correctly and lawfully.  How much longer can Kern continue to claim the sun goes around the earth, or that the Emperor is wearing fine clothing? The clock is still ticking.

So back to the last weekday, a Friday, in the month of May – three years ago exactly – when, with characteristic oppressive malevolence, letters announcing the intention to review were sent out, timed to hit the letterbox of the recipients on a Saturday.  Saturday 31st May 2014 to be exact.

The weekend receipt of such nasty letters is a practice still favoured by such forces as Merseyside, Staffordshire and Northumbria.

You see, it gives the disabled person shocked and worried by the very obvious threat to their pension a full 48 hours in which to suffer anxiety and have any mental health symptoms exacerbated before they can seek help – help which is only available on the following Monday at the earliest.

This can not go unnoticed as it is beyond the realms of chance that a Saturday is when this sort of letter always hits the mat.  This abuse has a descriptive term: “white torture” – it is a form of sensory deprivation through isolation favoured by North Korea and those who administer police injury pensions.

Speaking of Merseyside, with the coordination of a bloat of hippopotamus performing synchronised swimming, that force joined the fray by reviewing 502 IOD pensioners in a space of only 9 months. They achieved this purely by getting their resident medical retirement ‘officer‘, Peter Owens, to demand, with threats, that IOD pensioners tell him their earnings. On that irrelevant scrap of information Owens decided who might have experienced a substantial alteration in their degree of disablement, and who had probably not. He conveniently ignored the little legal requirement of having only a duly qualified medical practitioner decide the medical question of substantial alteration. He also chose to ignore the small legal point that an individual’s uninjured earning capacity could be higher than their former police salary.

Nottinghamshire mirrored Merseyside but, with flash of misplaced egotism, felt the need to get Stephen Mitchel (HR manager/NWEF deputy chair) and Dr Ralph Sampson to gloat to the national attendance management forum in a powerpoint presentation that’s it is all about the money and used twisted examples of dubiously reduced injury awards but conveniently left out that a proportion of those reduced won their award back on appeal.

Without thought, Staffordshire has also jumped into the murky waters and started a mass review program. We in IODPA say to Staffordshire police pension authority, ‘Good luck with that, mate. See you in court.’

An independent observer might well think this sort of action by these forces was co-ordinated; possibly even sanctioned by the heady mix of nasties who attend NWEF conferences.

There is a lot going on behind the scenes that we can’t talk about publicly due to the ongoing legal cases, but in each of the forces listed here there are appeals ongoing.  Judicial reviews take time to get before a judge and pension ombudsman decisions take an age to get to an adjudicator – the lag is both frustrating and annoying but it’s clear that we have a better idea of the weather signs of the inevitable incoming storm than the forces themselves – where typically the left hand can’t see the jerking, dying twitches of the right hand.  Exampled in the Notts presentation, forces spin their dubious outcomes favourably and rarely confer the bad news to each other as not to lose face.

Perhaps if Northumbria or Avon & Somerset used the college of policing’s internal group chat system called POLKA to honestly tell of the real firestorm they find themselves in, instead of swapping notes between SMPs in how to subvert the Regulations, forces like Staffordshire wouldn’t blunder ponderously into the same pit of despair.

POLKA (the Police OnLine Knowledge Area) is a secure online collaboration tool for the policing community to network, ask questions, share insights, discuss ideas and suggest new ways of working.

We are aware of HR drones and SMPs (the supposedly independent medical authority) forming POLKA groups as the means to build contacts and then immediately jumping into using WhatsApp to continue their heinous discussions.

Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, has criticised the impressive security of WhatsApp by saying the police and intelligence agencies need to be given access to WhatsApp and other encrypted messaging services to thwart future terror attacks.  Oh, the irony that those under her employ are using the same platform to swap their own devious recipies!

Why would honest public employees use an encrypted social media tool in an attempt to escape the open and honest disclosure of public decision making processes as demanded by the Freedom of Information Act?  Rhetorical question of course, honest employees would not.

It is not just the fact of attempting mass reviews which is indisputably unlawful. The devil is also in the detail – in the way individual disabled former officers are treated by those in HR; we know of one retired officer who had their injury award removed on the fabricated charge of failing to attend a medical examination.  We should not have to remind pension authorities of the fact that an injury pension cannot be ceased in this way.

But this particular incident was quite a feat in the interpreted perversion of ‘failure to attend‘ when the SMP, a psychologist, the retired officer, spouse and Federation rep all sat in the same room for the best part of a day.

When the offending force was reminded of this fact by way of a letter from a solicitor offering to have the issue tested by way of judicial review, the force reinstated the pension a week later.

It was established that this medical examination of the former officer by the force’s tame SMP was nothing more than a sham.  The former officer did attend – with their partner and a Federation representative as mentioned above – the SMP just unilaterally decided the questions he asked had not been answered sufficiently.

The truth of it is that the SMP had made up his mind and refused to listen and so sent a missive to the shameless force that he thought the pensioner should be punished for his definition of non-compliance.  Totally unlawful but sadly a true story.  The ineptitude of police forces know know no bounds when it comes to “doing the legs” of those it medically retired.

So three years on, where are we? We have seen the formation of IODPA – and what a journey it’s been. IODPA was created in the chaos of 2014 when three forces who attended the National Attendance Management Forum thought they could ride roughshod over those injured and retired from the police.

From fortnightly informal meetings we have evolved to a national association which holds two conferences per year, attended by our members, lawyers and like-minded individuals. We are able to instigate training sessions, taught by legally qualified experts, attended by Federation and NARPO representatives.

Every second of every hour our presence serves to counter the misinformation spouted by the likes of Nicholas Wirz, the principle Solicitor of Northumbria and so-called legal advisor to the laughably recently re-branded National Welbeing and Engagement Forum.

Social media has helped us spread our message world-wide.  Our Facebook page, with short soundbites, has thousands of daily hits but tellingly people many continue to still take 5 to 10 minutes out of their hectic life to read our blogs.  This map shows the views by countries of this website.

We thank our constant readers and our supporters.


The likes of Wirz, Kern, Mounstevens, Owens, and all the corrupt SMPs who willingly follow their instructions are put on due notice that they will never succeed in continuing to abuse disabled former officers and their families. Nor will they ever succeed in their attempts to twist, evade or corrupt the Regulations. IODPA, and pensioners, have the resolve and the means to challenge and defeat them and we will do exactly that.

#TTAdelaide: Thrown on the Scrap Heap

#TTAdelaide: Thrown on the Scrap Heap

Shared from our Facebook page.

Australian police have the exact same problem as the U.K, in how they are treated once they are injured, particularly with PTSD.

At least, the media have picked up down there that it is a national disgrace how officers are left on the scrap heap and disregarded.

They also have a similar Facebook page, called Medically Retired Western Australian Police Officers Association Inc.

Well worth watching this video.






Otherwise Healthy

Otherwise Healthy

“A committee is the only known form of life with a hundred bellies and no brain.”
Robert A. Heinlein, Methuselah’s Children

The March 2017 NWEF conference displayed a clear example wherein decision making becomes internally focused, defined by the needs and beliefs of the group.

Everyone nods their head and no-one in the audience calls out “that doesn’t sound right“.   Called “groupthink” it critically clouds decision making and of course the point about groupthink is that, if you are part of the group, you don’t realise that it’s there until it’s too late.

The legal advisor to NWEF, a person at the heart of the Fisher judicial review, harped on about the clarification given in the hearing he lost (note he says it was the PMAB who were the last decision makers, but this review of Mr Fisher’s injury award had Wirz’s fingerprints on it since 2008)

NW [Nicholas Wirz] provided an update on the recent high court judgement Fisher v Northumbria and PMAB. He highlighted the outcome of the judgement confirmed the case law brought about in the cases of Anton, Ayre and Walther (1).
Ground 1 of the Fisher judgement related to comparator and the use of Police Salary, the high court judge quashed the PMAB determination for the reasons that the comparison between injured and uninjured earnings was not analysed sufficiently and there was no rationale as to why police officer salary was not used.
Clarification is provided by this judgement that police officer salary would be the correct comparator where the former officer has only one qualifying injury and is otherwise healthy.

Look at the sentence highlighted bold.  The Fisher JR doesn’t say the police salary is the only correct comparator. It says the police salary should be the start and, if the tests have been passed for the quantum to be calculated, as much effort should go into defining the uninjured as the injured earning capacity.  Uninjured earning capacity could be higher if the person was under-employed as a police officer.  We examined this with an example of an Oral and maxillofacial surgeon  in this blog.

But let us examine the other nonsense about being “otherwise healthy”.  What is Wirz trying to imply here?

glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is a measure of how efficiently kidneys filter the waste from our blood. Healthy young people commonly have GFRs of about 120. A GFR lower than 60 or another marker of kidney damage for more than three months means chronic kidney disease (CKD). At which point, patients become scared. 

But wait a minute. Kidney function declines with age in almost everyone, and the proportion of older people with GFR readings below 60 approaches 50 percent, studies have found. As the older adult population grows, the prevalence may rise even higher.

So there is an age-related decline in kidney function; however, not all individuals will develop CKD with advancing age and not all patients diagnosed with CKD need to worry about dialysis, because that’s what they associate with kidney disease.

When you’re told you have a disease, that’s a bad day.  A doubly bad day for you in the warped world of Wirz:  On the day your kidney disease was diagnosed, you woke up that morning with at least an uninjured earning capacity of a police officer – you went to bed without it, indeed supposedly with no uninjured earning capacity and therefore a default reduction to a band one.  

Should a diagnosis of CKD effect your injury award? No? Yes? Maybe…?

Nicholas Wirz thinks it should because now you are not “otherwise healthy”.

We can hear Wirz shouting at us!  ‘Don’t use your kidney disease example to misrepresent NWEF’s position’.

A “straw man” is when an argument is put forth —usually something extreme or easy to argue against—that is known that the opponent doesn’t support. You put forth a straw man because you know it will be easy for you to knock down or discredit.  We can’t find a word that describes when the argument actually pulls a punch compared to the true position maintained by the opponent – some sort of inverse straw-man.

Chronic Kidney Disease? Pah!, Wirz trumps that with neurological disease, namely Parkinsons.

So let us highlight the guidance Wirz has been providing to SMPs since 2014.

Wirz writes:

e.g. if an individual were to have developed advanced Parkinson’s disease since the last review, such that he was unable to work by reason of the symptoms of that disease alone, then the uninjured earning capacity should be nil. Alternatively, if an officer were to have become generally less fit by reason of advancing age, such that he was no longer able to undertake a physically demanding job, or no longer able to work full time, then the uninjured earning capacity would be reduced accordingly.

“[…] then the uninjured earning capacity should be nil.” That line is worth repeating.

The uninjured earning capacity is the alternative universe “you“.  The you that wasn’t injured; the you that excelled at life; the you that aspired to be the best and had no injury holding you back; the you back in the day when the world was your oyster. It is not the you in the real world, as you are now with co-morbidities. Co-morbidity is the presence of one or more additional diseases or disorders co-occurring with (that is, concomitant or concurrent with) a primary disease or disorder.

Is Wirz a time-lord?  Can he categorically say you would have suffered from Parkinsons (or chronic kidney disease) HAD YOU NOT BEEN INJURED? Maybe the trauma led to the additional disorders?  Who knows.  This is as ridiculous as it gets.

Do you see what Wirz is trying to insert into the brains of those who listen to him?

A former officer has physical injuries all caused on duty.  His injuries have only deteriorated and he has struggled with chronic pain and mental health issues directly related to the chronic pain.  He has taken tricyclic antidepressants for long term analgesia.  He has chronic kidney disease because of the decades of reliance on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

On his fifty-eighth birthday, he is diagnosed with early onset of Parkinson’s disease.  Just when he, and his family, needs his injury pension, Nicholas Wirz wants to make him a zero percent band one and remove thousand of pounds from their income.

But his duty injury is no better!  Is he now two hundred percent disabled? Yes, he has a further disability but this has nothing to do with his permanent disablement for carrying out the full duties of a police officer.  In effect, to reintroduce any concurrent disablement is tantamount to revisiting causation and apportionment.  Such lawyer tricks have been already declared unlawful.

Wirz wants to carry his corruption to the high court in order to “clarify” how things, in his world, should be.  A vulnerable person will be taken through hell just because Nicholas Wirz thinks the law needs to be tested.

This is what IODPA is dealing with.  If only other organisations, those there for the support of those injured on duty, will take up the clarion call and help us to stop these abuses.





The Unmasking of Cheng’s OHS Partners

The Unmasking of Cheng’s OHS Partners

“Power attracts the corruptible. Suspect any who seek it.”
Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune

What shocks us the most about the National Wellbeing & Engagement Forum (NWEF previously NAMF) is that occasionally it doesn’t even try to hide how biased it, and some of it’s attendees, actually are.  For example, Nicholas Wirz’s opinion of the Fisher judgement in the March 2017 minutes.  Wirz says the uninjured comparator has been clarified as being the police salary when “the former officer has only one qualifying injury and is otherwise healthy. Oh my! Well… that’s a jump.

The author of this blog was sat in the public gallery at the Fisher judgement throughout the hearing and what Wirz claims to be the opinion of the court was never said.  The court clearly stated the police salary should be considered as the lowest starting point – nothing was touched on about being otherwise healthy; Wirz has made that bit up! Just in case there has been a lapse of memory, the transcript has been read and reread.   Nope, nothing like Wirz’s take on it there. Typical example of Wirz’s ability to put a spin on things to suit his own purposes – which, in respect of the NWEF is to mislead and misdirect.

We know exactly what Wirz is trying to infer here and will talk about his “otherwise healthy” in another blog – he is truly the gift that keeps giving blog material.

The Forum’s prejudices are so obvious as to be blinding – they obscure its baby steps towards being self-proclaimed experts in the Police Regulations. There is nothing certain elements within the NWEF would like more than to see regional units set up to administer all aspects of police ill health and injury pensions, from grant to grave.

These units would be controlled from the centre by the usual suspects, including Wirz, who would carefully select SMPs whose decisions would suit their paymasters. The current police pension authorities would be happily sidelined. They are all, bar the Met, City of London and the Police service of Northern Ireland, local Chief Constables. Everything would be delegated to the regional centres.

IODPA is unhappy with the built-in conflict of interest having Chief Constables in charge of injury pensions – some have shown a determined desire to treat them as a drain on scarce resources rather than honour the scope and purposes of the Regulations. However, should regional units come into being, there is very real concern the Home Office would lurking in the background, pulling the strings.

Thus, even those decent forces which have tried to honestly administer injury pensions would be compelled to see its disabled former officers face the horrors of medical assessments by dubious SMPs who would be under instructions to reduce pension payments by whatever means they think they can get away with.

Like an invading species, NWEF is taking up the ground vacated by the good, honest administrating civilians as they leave in disgust or retire.  Affected, or should we say infected forces are left with a skills gap allowing NWEF to doorstep the senior ranks saying they are the answer.  The warped an unlawful NWEF view of how the Regulations should be applied then becomes the new norm, and NWEF are a step closer to changing the culture.  Seeing the progression gradually happen, when it can be so easily countered, frightens us.

An example of the creep is evidenced in those who go to NWEF conferences.  The most recent conference saw a mob-handed turn-out by Staffordshire. Coincidentally this was at the time when they were forming the intent to start a mass review program of injury pensions.

There are many other things which bother us about those who attend the NWEF’s meetings, but one thing which stands out a lot at the moment is the attendance of an individual named Sally Waterlow.

She is listed as an attendee in September 2012, March 2014, December 2015, September 2016 and March 2017.

Who is she, and why are we interested in her?  Back in 2012 it appears she worked for the Metropolitan Police in a HR role, with some responsibility for ill health pensions.

The September 14th 2012 minutes contain this statement:

Sally Waterlow (SW) from the Metropolitan Police advised that they were considering withdrawing the services of the SMPs within their force altogether.

Indeed, the Met did decide not to hold further regular reviews of degree of disablement in regard to injury pensioners, and we know that one SMP, a Dr William Cheng did not have his contract renewed. Our Sally then pops up as attending later NAMF conferences – this time as a representative for a company called OHS Partners, with the job description of ‘Advisor to SMP’.

Here is a picture grab of the September 2016 NWEF minutes:

OHS Partners is a company which lists the profile of a single SMP, namely said Dr William Cheng. In fact, Dr Cheng is the company. OHS is merely a convenient, and no doubt tax-efficient, vehicle for him to tout his particular brand of medical services. He is the sole director – a group of four fellow-directors all jumped ship in November 2015. Perhaps they could see the stormy, rocky shore ahead.

The Internet domain registration of was submitted by a company called Partners Occupational Medical Services Ltd.  As mentioned above, the sole director of this company is William Cheng as can be seen by this director report.

For our Sally Waterlow to leave the Met and then join this tinpot company we can only suspect she would’ve had to been secretly lobotomised — perhaps by members of the NAMF’s impeccably fair and impartial board. In the dead of night. Silently, without remorse. Chloroform, a hacksaw, a scalpel.  Or she had an entirely rational, but highly dubious motivation

Our guess is that the NWEF chair, Lesley-Ann Knowles, will not give a monkey’s about the fact how it looks when Sally was given actions by the NWEF to introduce NWEF to her own contacts.  In 2014 Sally was actioned to approach her own ‘friend’ with an ‘in’ to the Home Office, minuted as:

Finally, Sally Waterlow advised of a useful contact to the group, Avril Cooper, who is advising the Home Office from a practitioner’s perspective.

It seems Avril Cooper was in 2014 Head of Occupational Health with the Metropolitan Police, as she appears as such in the list of attendees to a NAMF meeting in June of that year. In 2013 Avril was representing ACPO on the official side of the now defunct Police Negotiating Board at a Police Arbitration Tribunal. She was there with Peter Spreadbury, who is the Head of the unit within the Home Office which deals with all matters concerning police injury pensions.

Sally Waterlow’s ‘friend‘, Avril Cooper, is also mentioned in Police Advisory Board’s 28 July 2016 meeting held at the Home Office’s address of 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF.

At the SAB meeting of 8 July PFEW shared their paper in response to this review. It was also agreed that Avril Cooper (MET) should be invited to share with the SAB findings from a Metropolitan Police survey which was first to be shared with the National Attendance Management Forum.

We would also figure that Ms Knowles, who is employed as a HR director for Northumbria Police, wouldn’t really care that Cheng has been given a contract for work at tri-service conglomerate of Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland police forces.  Just look at this contract, valued at £576 000, and who it was awarded to:


Name and address of economic operator to whom the contract has been awarded

Partners Occupational Medical Services Ltd

208 Green Lanes, Palmers Green


N13 5UE


+44 2079287080

Oh! Dr Cheng with an email address …  quelle surprise!

So, we have Sally Waterlow and Dr Cheng clearly linked in some way. And Sally has contacts within the Home Office, which means so does the supposedly impartial independent medical  assessor, Dr Cheng.

Ms Knowles would also be sanguine, hunkered down behind that familiar defence of: ‘If IODPA think we’re biased then we must be getting it right’ — a self-justifying falsehood if ever there was one.

Knowles will probably dispatch some overpaid, half-witted, oleaginous middle-managing  gimp to placate the complainants that to award a contract to the boss of someone who attended her own conferences stinks; while assuring anyone asking that they are wrong in every respect and that, within NWEF, everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds. As it always is.

And yet the complainants are right, surely.

The horror when this unexpected eventuality dawns upon someone that can actually do something about this will be our greatest pleasure of the year.

Until then we will point to the truth, and NWEF will continue it’s embarrassing trajectory to oblivion.

It was pretty much ever thus with the NWEF.  You may have heard  the comments made by some which claim our coverage is guilty of bias.  We can take that hit  – we reveal the other side to the NWEF coin and we always provide links to the source.

Our view is let the reader decide, so we are never inclined to take the complaints very seriously. But a senior ranking apparatchik said once: ‘What you have to understand, is that only the bad and the mad attend NAMF.’ That was from a senior member of a force that refuses to send delegates to NWEF, since you asked.

Stories of bureaucratic profligacy and incompetence will continue.

The bias we report is so evident, so obvious, so blinding that it sometimes obscures the fact that the awarding of the Cheng contract has a distinctly criminal whiff about it.

We thought you should know about these close links – please come to your own conclusions why Sally Waterlow fervently goes to NWEF conferences . . .