The Staffordshire branch of NARPO has, quite correctly, asked the Police Federation of England & Wales (PFEW) about the “agreement” that was sent out to those as a consequence of being paper reviewed almost a decade ago. Remember this “agreement” was signed at the time by the individual, local NARPO, local PFEW and Staffordshire police.
There is a stand-out point that seems to be missed here … The test whether the contract is a stand-alone, legally binding thing of absolute validity is arguably the wrong question to apply. It matters not whether the contract, on it’s own, is a legal document of authority. What matters is the context underpinning how the signed paper came into being and the legitimate expectation such a document provides as a consequence of the processes that occurred before it.
If the conclusion is flawed (the “agreement“), then the process (a review conducted under Regulation 37) that led to that conclusion is compromised.
So the real significance lies in the gap between the very start of process (including the motivation behind why it commenced) to the finality of the Staffordshire 2008 mass review program, the conclusion of such being the “agreement“.
If the context of the “agreement” is flawed then it opens the fact that the paper review that underpins the “agreement” is unsound.
All those mass paper reviews conducted a decade ago by Staffordshire, in an attempt to limit their exposure to the illegality of the 46/2004 Home Office guidance, were finalised without the knowledge contained in the later judgements found in the Pollard, Turner and Laws judicial reviews.
A mechanism to fix such wrongs is a Regulation 32 reconsideration and the legal advice of the PFEW, however it is interpreted, is a gateway that brings to stark realism the judgement of Justice King in Haworth, R (on the application of) v Northumbria Police Authority  that a reconsideration …
should be construed as a free standing mechanism as part of the system of checks and balances in the regulations to ensure that the pension award, either by way of an initial award or on a review to the former police officer by either the SMP or PMAB, has been determined in accordance with the regulations and that the retired officer is being paid the sum to which he is entitled under the regulations.
…and that refusal of the police pension authority to allow such right to a mechanism to fix a wrong is:
potentially unlawful interference with a ECHR right
We could have saved the effort of the PFEW by telling those who asked that the “agreement” is not congruent with the “checks and balances” demanded by the Regulations. Excuse the use of deliberate tautology, but the point is so important that it needs to be repeated with different words: the “agreement” is a dubious result caveated by Staffordshire Police’s 2008 mass review program that was itself, by its very nature, not congruent with “checks and balances” demanded by the Regulations.
Before a person starts to think they should ever acquiesce to any review there needs to be answers. Not only shall the review be justified to the individual, a suitable interval needs to have elapsed and individual discretion applied based on that person’s circumstances. The disabled former officer also needs to fix the damage done by any previous unlawful paper review.
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