“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. www.college.police.uk/What-we-do/Research/polka/Pages/POLKA.aspx
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.
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.
23 thoughts on “We’ve Come a Long Way…”
Like all criminal and illegal enterprises, they will ultimately fail and be found out. Its life natural justice, abusers of the weak and vulnerable always fall. These people are immoral financially driven criminals. Pablo Escobar, Hitler, and OCGs across the globe ultimately fail and fall, and these guys had brains and Wit.
A three year wait for a decision is in itself disgraceful. It does however show that when challenged on the lawfulness of their actions, these incompetents simply have no answer. They just continue to flail around, relying on unsound “legal” advice and digging an ever deeper hole for themselves. They are either too arrogant or too stupid to admit that they might have been wrong and continue to cost council tax payers a small fortune.
As the costs go ever higher, sooner or later the bean counters have to be held to account for their actions. In the meantime we have to remain strong and anyone called for review must insist on the regulations being adhered to and continue to challenge and resist any attempt at unlawful actions.
It is hard for those who continue to wait for a result but they will always have the full support of members of IODPA because their fight is one that affects us all (including current serving officers – Federation please note)
What a total abuse of power in every respect, they seem to have twisted the regulations to suit them (badly). I can not believe that such corruption occurs in the modern police service. I though honesty, transparency and fairness to all was the new methodology. How wrong I was you all have my sympathies for having been put through this appalling treatment.
As usual top informative blog, the IODPA is helping so many of us and for those of us who haven’t been called for review know that if and when we do we have the experience and knowledge of the IODPA and its members behind us. ?
The end is coming for these uncompasionate uncaring monsters who hold sway over our lives. Mine and my family’s lives have changed beyond recognition.
Theirs is one of fear for the future and like me, panic every time the postman comes calling.
I know how much HR people and ACPOO resent injured on duty cops. They are prepared to act as school yard bully playing with injured minds and bodies of officers who gave there life to policing. If they read these blogs then hang your head in shame, I hate bullies and those that abuse the weak, they are criminally and morally corrupt
If you are reading this you may well have been injured on duty or facing a review.
I loved my job, I didn’t ask to be injured on duty, the job I loved was taken away from me, my normal life was taken away from me.
Then, I discover that the people I believed would take care of me and others like me are all about saving money, what a disgraceful way to treat retired police officers that patrolled the streets whilst you were snug in your beds, absolute shame on you.
IODPA are supporting me now and many others like me.
HR managers and accountants, hidden away in their offices and never see the dirty work that policing entails.
Men and women are needed to do this dirty and nasty work for the good of our society and due to the nature of the work injuries will unfortunately occur.
Its only right that forces honour the pension arrangements and look after those whose lives have been affected permanently whilst protecting the majority of the population which also includes those schemers at NAMF.
Think about that you schemers in NAMF.
Fairness – this concept runs through everything right from the publishing of HOC 47/2004 to now. If you recall HOC 47/2004 had at it’s heart the expression “in the interests of fairness” – it then went on to unlawfully pervert any reasonable concept of fairness and numerous court cases demonstrated that until HO withdrew it. Everything that HO and various forces have tried to implement has been demonstrated to be both unfair and unlawful. They have clearly now accepted that any “guidance” to arbitrarily reduce payments at certain ages will not work so, having abandoned that tack, they have replaced the (relatively) fairminded SMP’s with a new breed trained to the assumption that IOD pensioners are undeserving and Banded too highly, thus achieving the same reductions by a different means. This is also causing them problems as they are clearly operating from a false premise.
Overall, the entire effort has not just been damaging to IODs – it has also been damaging to force budgets and reputations. If this has been a cost-cutting operation it has been a total disaster for them as the combined costs of inflated SMP costs, legal bills and administration FAR outways any saving that have been made in the cutting of the very few Injury Pensions that they have succeeded in reducing.
WHY DON’T THEY JUST STOP?
In 1993 my police service took 30 minutes to end, I was deemed unfit for public order duty, but according to the SMP I could continue to work. No account was taken of my skills & uninjured earning capacity. A review two years later confirmed I was working & my injuries remained unchanged. 4.6.2004 saw my force initiate reviews with a view to reducing their pension burden. Three years later they decided this was not such a good idea & sent out letters to IOD’s where they stated they had reviewed the IOD pensioners & they would not be reviewed again for life. This contract may be subject to opinion, but all the IOD’s have made life & financial decisions based on this (now long standing & established) contract. My force has now decided due to being: “financially straitened” to renege on the contract & start reviews. The reference to a financial reason is a breach of the Laws decision, my force have also made a number of other legal errors. Thanks to the superb support from the IODPA those from my force area that have joined IODPA will get legal advice, support, information & welfare support from this group. NARPO on the other hand want IOD’s to fill in questionnaires, send consent to release medical records & give the force all the ammunition it needs to reduce bandings. Then & only then will they have a look at what has occurred, & maybe if you are lucky, NARPO will pass the issue to the Feds BUT in my force the Feds & NARPO are co0opted members of the pension board. The same pension board that authorised the reviews in the first place. My fight has just begun, but in just a few weeks I have had more support from IODPA than in the last 10yrs from NARPO. Long May this be the case for all IOD’s
Every day there are new members joining IODPA.
This alone shows how a supporting organisation for those cast aside through injury on duty as been badly needed for a very long time.
IODPA is needed now more than ever because the “establishment” is running a depraved and odious campaign to discriminate against those who lost their careers and livelihoods for no other reason that a contemptible desire to save money.
For me it is the skewed and warped interpretations of the legal binding regulations that I find hideous; in my case the SMP stated that if I was ever to work again I would have to run my own business (I have no training experience or knowledge of running a business !) …yet he gives an injury award that reflects someone partially disabled from employment…. which rather bears no sense or reason.
Even for those from police forces who are not actively doing reviews to date, the fear sits at the back of the mind that it is only a matter of time before the wave of persecution starts …. and that never allows the security of peace of mind.
In unity is our strength. There is a legal and moral obligation to pay injury awards.
Those of us that have served understand what courage, honour and sacrifice look like. We are injured because we were prepared to put ourselves in harms way.
We live in an era of accountancy driven policing.
A further excellent blog.
I am one of the 16 who some 3 years later has not received a result.
The effect that this has had on me and my loved ones is almost unbearable.
I like others have seen my very frail health significantly worsen.
Thank you to IODPA for your support and I pray that we can stay united and end this process and the misery it is causing
‘White torture’ is a an appropriate term and one I feel we will be hearing more of in the near future as these immoral and criminal behaviours by so called doctors are gradually exposed in relation to their conduct with injured police officers.
Bernie, you must go ahead and complain about these immoral individuals registered with the professional regulatory body known as the ‘GMC’. Other injured officers and victims must do so also, this is perfect timing!!!! The more accounts they receive in relation to overt sub-optimal practice and DISHONESTY, the more they have to investigate. Any honest and professional doctor registered with this organisation will welcome it to eradicate these malefactors .
The comments regarding the brevity and professionalism of medics and associates during the recent Westminster and Manchester attacks are so poignant. This highlights the questionable abrasive existence of such heretic tax evading, hired mercenaries who have the rashness to register with the same professional body as the true professionals. The UK has a shortage of doctors so surely we should be employing them in the NHS where they are needed to treat the public and servants of the public.
When I saw the Manchester incident live on TV I thought here we go again, Fire Police and Ambulance personnel running towards something that all right minded people are running away from.
The official side just don’t get it, these are the regulations we signed up to, albeit hoping we would never have to use them. How many more officers are going to be permanently injured on duty then ignored and intimidated by their forces. Because of the shit we had to suck up some of us will never get better.
Thankfully the courts are starting to see that and come up with the right decisions. Its a pity the likes of Wirz and a few other shits can’t see the light and are going to learn the hard way.
Bring it on. IODPA grows bigger every day in members, confidence, knowledge and finances. Let us move forwards, an iron fist in a velvet glove.
IODPA has been a brilliant coming together of injured Police Officers who for too long have been outcast by their Forces, harassed, bullied and unlawfully dealt with. PIPIN started the fight back and this has grown into another larger organisation IODPA.
Many of us who have fought our former Forces over the years thought that we were alone and perhaps it was all our fault to get seriously injured in the first place.
Now, through social media we all know different and that injured officers were and are being treated unlawfully specifically to stop and reduce their injury pensions. These pensions, by the way, were paid into by the said officers at the rate of 11% of their salary and their injury pension is a lawful entitlement.
With the help of Solicitors and Barristers who understand the Police injury benefit legislation injured officers are beginning to get what’s rightfully theirs and are now not having to deal with the official sides’ unlawful and bullying attitude on their own.
Hopefully the A&S injured officers will have their reviews completed properly soon and their bullying official side will pay out necessary compensation for the harm they have caused during the process. To complete this painful saga perhaps the people behind this atrocious behaviour on the official side can be taken to task and sacked. This includes the C.C., the SMPs, the legal department and the HR staff who have processed this behaviour.
Havn’t we just.
Listen, and understand. The review process is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are on band 1, or dead.
3 years ago I was dragged into this unlawfull review process by my force. As a youngish, band 4 suffering from severe PTSD I was a sitting duck and no doubt considered an easy target. Then began the intense and determined attempts to force me in front of their “independant” SMP to be rubber stamped. The federation and NARPO were unhelpful, I felt isolated and alone. Luckily my wife found the IODPA website and within days we had spoken with their solicitor Ron Thompson and we took his advice. I no longer felt alone and now had the support that I desperately needed from others in the same situation. Using the advice and information from their site has give me confidence in challenging my force every step of the way. I am still in the “process” but I havn’t heard from my Force in months. Forces want you to be isolated, it makes their work easier. Our strength is in joining together and challenging their unlawful practices. With constant success in challenging practice and decisions IODPA are putting the Federation and Narpo to shame.
I urge all IODs to join and get behind IODPA because the reviews will never stop and IODPA will never stop fighting. Thankyou IODPA.
Excellent blog. I am very grateful for the existence and support of IODPA in fighting my case with Merseyside. I attended a review as I had decades of clinical evidence to show deterioration of my physical injury. I recorded the review on my iphone and low and behold the report written by the SMP bore little resemblance to what went on. Rather than recommend increasing my banding of 2 he recommended it go down to 1. He also shared the report with Merseyside without my prior consent. I am now making a complaint to the GMC about him and Haven solicitors are supporting me in my case.
What amazes me, is that in a room full of people, supposedly learned individuals, supposedly caring with a supposedly good moral compass, with one of its fundamental aims being to consider IOD’s welfare, not a single one (and correct me if I’m wrong here) has stood up and said, ever, ” hang on a minute, this isn’t right, this isn’t just, this isn’t fair”, not a single one.
All I can say is thank god for IODPA, the silver lining of a very dark cloud !
Good Blog. I would just like to point out a few anomalies.
Between 1994 and 1996, the Avon and Somerset Cuntstabulary, kicked out 311 Police Officers. This one was on duty at the time. Rode pedal cycle in for 8am, had Tea and Sausage sandwich with Hollingshead, waiting for 2182 Francis, then drove patrol car into Southmead, then onto OHU. Ten minutes later, all over. Drove back to Southmead, given a black bag, and told to clear my locker out. Rode home……End of life as I knew it. In fact, they booted out another 42, later on, but the essence of it was that the Home Office were picking up the IOD tab. Unfortunately for the bastards, the labour party, yes the labour party, the party of law and order, ( What a joke that is ) decided to make all the Farces responsible for their own IOD pension budgets in 2001. Big Shitstorm! The original BOGOFF had gone south, leaving them with all these useless officers with bags of experience, stuck out on a limb.
What a shame!
What a waste of experience and knowledge. Let’s just recruit more and more civvies, that are about as much use as a chocolate teapot, and as accountable as the PCC herself. Not at all.
Then she has the temerity to write that letter to Damian Green.
What an absolute COW.
Here she is, responsible for bankrupting a perfectly profitable family bakery business, now running, and holding the purse strings of the Cuntstabulary, and bemoaning the amount of IOD pensioners she has inherited, when they were booted out unceremoniously by the establishment in the first instance!
It might be three years since they took on the challenge, but those who have not had an answer should look upon it as a victory.
Another three years of full pension…. whoopee doo.
They’ve tried the bullying route, they’ve tried the legal route, and now they are trying to invoke Force Policy on members of the public who have nothing to do with them any longer.
Best of luck on that one.
They are quite frankly clueless, and useless, and long may it continue!
Very well put. The days when forces can do what they like because ‘we’re the police’ (and that includes human remains who think they have the same powers as a policeman), are rapidly disappearing thank to organisations especially like IODPA. It’s many years since the police became just another side of the coin as far as the law courts are concerned. Now the inner sanctum of the police forces are being brought to account and their practises found to be wanting both legally and morally. The civilians who think they run the police are in for a very rude awakening and I wouldn’t want to be the Chief Constable who has let this happen on my watch.
Great blog again. I will never understand the hatred that former employers hold towards those officers that have been injured doing the job they loved. I understand that some civvy twats that sit behind desks and would pee their pant if someone looked nastily at them, they will never understand because they haven’t been police officers.
But to be done over by the likes of that idiot in Merseyside is unbelievable.
We can hate to but our hate is turned into might and knowledge that will see these mortals bow down and look again at what they are doing to us.
Knowledge is power and we have a lot of knowledge. Long live iodpa I serve thee to victory.
Lol @ Supernintendo!
Bring on the prosecutions! I firmly believe examples will be the only way to precent future perpetrators, who lets face it, will always continue to pop up in HR Depts…
Comments are closed.