Theresa May has hailed the ‘unbreakable spirit’ of Mancunians as she signed the book of condolences for those killed in the terror attack. The Prime Minister said that people would remember those who died and ‘celebrate those who helped’, insisting that ‘terrorism never wins’.
“As we remember those who died, their loved ones and those who were injured, we will celebrate those who helped, safe in the knowledge that terrorism never wins, our country and our way of life will prevail.’
The PM’s letter is welcome public show of support for the emergency services.
However, by way of sharp contrast, this is what one former Chief Constable wrote, in a letter which he no doubt never thought would be made public. It exposes a different, dark and sinister view of how police officers who daily face danger should be treated. It was penned way back in 2004 by the then Chief Constable of Staffordshire, John W Giffard and addressed to the Home Office.
Giffard advocates that those injured on duty in criminal assaults, which would have included those injured in historical terrorist activities, both here on the mainland and in Northern Ireland, should have their injury pensions taken from them when they reached the age of 65. So, just at the time when a pension would be most needed, this heartless figurehead proposes to have them taken away. This isn’t the spouting of a civil servant or an accountant. This was a Chief Constable sending a message to his chums in the Home Office, agreeing to support whatever the Home Office was planning to do.
Significantly, Giffard was not offering a personal statement. He wrote as the spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). Thus his view can only be taken as the combined agreed view of all Chief Constables. They were proposing to go along with an unlawful reduction of police injury pensions. The cost of paying injury pensions had become a significant concern, so instead of finding ways to continue to honour the payments which the law set out, the Home Office and ACPO conspired to find underhand, unlawful ways to subvert the pension arrangements.
Let’s make this as clear as we can. Elements in the Home Office conspired with ACPO to break the law.
We continue to think that at that stage anybody in receipt of an injury award should be dropped to the lowest band or possibly even completely dropped.
Note well, he uses the word ‘we’ which confirms he speaks for all members of ACPO. Note also, ACPO wants injury awards completely dropped, removed, taken away. If they can’t get their way, then they’ll settle to a reduction to the lowest band. With total disregard to the law and the severity of the disability of those in receipt of an injury award.
Giffard was not talking about some future, new, pension scheme. He was writing in respect of what would become, a few weeks later, the infamous advice from the Home Office, issued as Annex C to HO circular 46/2004 which advised all forces that injury pensions could be reduced to the lowest band at age 65.
‘Once a former officer receiving an injury pension reaches the age of 65 they will have reached their State Pension Age irrespective of whether they are male or female. The force then has the discretion, in the absence of a cogent reason otherwise, to advise the SMP to place the former officer in the lowest band of Degree of Disablement. At such a point the former officer would normally no longer be expected to be earning a salary in the employment market.’
The Home Office felt confident in issuing unlawful advice as it had the assurance of ACPO that Chief Constables would not raise any objections.
That was in 2004. The Home Office guidance has been declared unlawful in the High Court and has been withdrawn. Yet still we see Staffordshire and some other forces plotting to reduce injury pension payments, contrary to the law of the land. The current Staffordshire Chief Constable Jane Sawyers hands over her baton to none other than Gareth Morgan on the 19th June. Gareth Morgan, as we have mentioned in an earlier blog, comes from that other hotbed of injury pension abuse, Avon and Somerset. His well-fed and self-satisfied frame should fit in well in Staffordshire.
The next time you read an ACPO level press release about the hard work of the emergency services, please remember the true thought processes of certain people who, behind the cameras, commit the most vile disservice to those who protect this country.
We ask the simple question … When those who run towards violence aren’t protected for life when they suffer life changing injuries, then is our society broken?