Month: September 2017

IODPA Sounds Alarm Over Threats to Injured On Duty Police

IODPA Sounds Alarm Over Threats to Injured On Duty Police

CrowdJustice – Crowdfund public interest law

Justice for Injured On Duty Police: Donate to the Campaign That Stops Threats to Injured On Duty Police


[29th September 2017]

Charity Sounds Alarm Over Threats to Injured On Duty Police

The Injury On Duty Pensioners Association (IODPA) has today launched a campaign to fund legal assistance for disabled and vulnerable former officers who are being threatened and are facing injustice concerning their injury pensions.

CrowdJustice is a crowdfunding platform that enables individuals, groups and communities to come together to fund legal action.  Donors can make a pledge to the campaign here:
https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/justice-for-police-injured-onduty/

IODPA is a registered charity formed to relieve the need of retired and serving police officers in hardship or distress.

Some few forces are deliberately flouting the law. Their Chief Constables are responsible for the lawful administration of police injury pensions, but they are overseeing abuse of disabled people who have been threatened and misinformed.

IODPA needs to bring issues to the attention of the courts so as to compel errant forces to comply with the law governing police injury pensions.

The Regulations which govern injury pensions give no rights which would allow a human resources employee or a doctor working for a police force to demand personal and sensitive medical information.

In June, Merseyside Police backed down when challenged at judicial review for its unlawful action of stopping the injury award of a former officer, who rightly held the view they were not entitled to his full medical history.

In Staffordshire Police, Deputy Chief Constable recently made a public statement that:

“Staffordshire police does not threaten to suspend injury pensions if the information asked for is not provided”

Despite this promise, Andrew Colley, a human resources employee of Staffordshire police recently sent a letter to a former officer with a medical pension threatening that not providing full medical records would amount to non-attendance at a medical examination – whether or not the person physically attended.

All appointments made out by Staffordshire police  for injury pensioners to see a Dr Charles Vivian have been cancelled indefinitely as Dr Vivian is refusing to see any pensioner without prior completion of a questionnaire and disclosure of full medical records from birth.

This issue is just the latest in a long history of deliberate and determined abuse of vulnerable disabled former officers, and of the law, by some forces. IODPA needs to fund successful legal challenges, which will benefit all of the over 12,000 former officers who are retired due to disabling injury on duty.

IOPDA seeks to challenge this unlawful abuse of process by providing legal assistance though solicitors with expertise in this area. Our appointed legal experts are Haven Solicitors and Cartwright King.

Contact: press@iodpa.org

Proudly associated with:
Mark Lake http://cartwrightking.co.uk/
Ron Thompson http://havensolicitors.co.uk/

Injury On Duty Pensioners Association (Charitable Incorporated Association)
Registered Charity Number 1174473
Lytchett House, 13 Freeland Park Wareham Road, Lytchett Matravers, Poole, Dorset, BH16 6FA

[End]
Download here CHARITY-SOUNDS-ALARM-OVER-THREATS-TO-INJURED-ON-DUTY-POLICE.pdf

IODPA Press Release 29092017 – CHARITY SOUNDS ALARM OVER THREATS TO INJURED ON DUTY POLICE

Coming Soon: Crowd Funding to Help Those Injured on Duty

Coming Soon:  Crowd Funding to Help Those Injured on Duty

Our www.CrowdJustice.com case
Justice for Police Officers Injured On Duty

Disabled, vulnerable former police officers who were injured in the performance of their duty are facing gross injustice in regard to their pensions. Some police forces are determinedly flouting the law. They are bullying and threatening pensioners. They are demanding access to medical records from birth, which is unlawful. They are threatening to take away the pensions of those who do not comply. That too is unlawful. These abuses are only the tip of the iceberg.

Our campaign is to raise funds to allow expert solicitors to fight these injustices. We need to get the courts to order these rogue forces to comply with the law.

Haven Solictors’ legal victory over Merseyside Police, on this very issue, is being deliberately ignored. Staffordshire Police is trying to twist the law by saying that if a pensioner attends a medical examination arranged by the force but does not also give permission for the doctor to access medical records from birth then they will reduce the amount of pension paid – regardless of the individual’s medical condition.  This is absurd.

We need to raise funds to start to fight the injustice.

Police forces can, and do, spend unlimited amounts of public money to attempt to defend their misconduct. Elderly, disabled former police officers on limited incomes can not afford to hire solicitors to help protect their pensions.

A full press release will be circulated when the campaign goes live at 8am Friday 29th September.

CrowdJustice – Crowdfund public interest law

CrowdJustice is a crowdfunding platform that enables individuals, groups and communities to come together to fund legal action. Using the power of people to create change!

 

 

 

Introducing Our Live Employment Tribunal Search Feed

Introducing Our Live Employment Tribunal Search Feed

Following  our Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) live feed we are pleased to announce another step in our quest to be the authoritative source of all injury awards information.

As of February 2017 recent Employment Tribunal judgements can be accessed via GOV.UK at https://www.gov.uk/employment-tribunal-decisions.  We have created a RSS feed to this database to extract decisions involving police forces that will be updated automatically as decisions are added.

EATs have always been published on the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) but anyone wanting to search or browse employment tribunal decisions had to attend in person at offices in Bury St Edmunds for English and Welsh decisions, and in Glasgow for Scottish decisions.  Employment tribunal judgements are first-instance decisions and are not binding on subsequent cases.

However, decisions often provide a detailed account of the facts in a case, which can incentivise parties to settle rather than risk bad publicity. Judgements can also provide helpful examples of how tribunals deal with legal issues and fact situations

You can find the link on the right side bar under Case Law:

Not all decisions will be matters concerning the Equality Act and disability discrimination but you will be able to see patterns from certain police forces as repeated respondents.  We will blog about pertinent cases that overlap into injury awards and ill-health retirement.

Quasi-Judicial: What It Is & What It Isn’t

Quasi-Judicial:  What It Is & What It Isn’t

“Who are you to judge the life I live?
I know I’m not perfect
-and I don’t live to be-
but before you start pointing fingers…
make sure you hands are clean!”
― Bob Marley

Some SMPs have acquired a fundamental misunderstanding of what is meant by them acting in a quasi-judicial capacity when conducting their part in a review of the degree of disablement in respect of the injury pension of former officers.

They have gone so far, in some instances, of thinking they have the power to direct IOD pensioners to do certain things – like handing over their medical records from birth, or travelling many miles to attend an appointment at the convenience of the SMP. Some try, (and fail) to forbid the pensioner having a friend, supporter, carer or chaperone present during a medical interview or examination. Some, in the grip of their delusions, have taken to calling a medical examination a ‘medical inquisition’. One SMP even thinks she is a Judge and is in the habit of ordering all and sundry to do her bidding, but we discount the rumours that she has a wig and ermine trimmed robe which she secretly wears in the bathroom at home.

The plain fact is that SMPs and even Police Pension Authorities, under whose authority they act, have no power to command or demand anything of a police injury on duty pensioner.  Merseyside police recently came a cropper on this exact same point by capitulating on a judicial review.  Ron Thompson of Haven solicitors said,

“This was an unnecessary and totally avoidable dispute. All the Chief Constable’s staff had to do was to read the wording of the Regulations to see that they had no power to force former officers to hand over medical notes or fill in questionnaires, particularly in advance of any decision to make a referral to the SMP. The lesson from this episode for Forces is that no amount of misguided “advice” from the National Attendance Management Forum can change the meaning of the words of the Regulations.
Any other Force that tries this tactic can expect to be served with the same type of legal challenge”

Yes, you read that right. No power whatever. If any HR manager, SMP or Police Pension Authority thinks otherwise, then IODPA has just this to say to them – ‘See you in court.

At review, a SMP is required to make a decision. That’s it. That all parties are bound by the final decision (final if not appealed) is where the quasi-judicial bit comes from, and that is where it ends. The SMP’s decision is an action taken on behalf of a public administrative agency, the police pension authority, and a SMP is obliged upon to decide a question as the foundation for official actions. In plain words, they make a medical decision, and hand that decision to the PPA. A decision, only once made and so final that the PPA has to act in accordance with it, and is forbidden to alter, change or dismiss or get HR to pipe into a magic calculator to spit out a band one, is de facto a quasi-judicial decision. The decision.  Not the process or the process maker.

But let us delve into the murky world of SMP’s enthusiastically failing to act as an independent arbitrators. It is a fundamental requirement that any decision-maker should be impartial. ‘Disinterested’ is the word – have no axe to grind, nothing to gain or lose by making a decision, neither having the interests of the pensioner or the PPA in mind, but being a servant of the law, medical ethics and of reason. Making a decision on verifiable facts and on professional opinion, and being prepared to explain and justify that decision.

We would like here to focus on the antics of one SMP – Dr Charlie Vivian, who works as SMP for Staffordshire PPA (police pension authority). (A reminder to readers – the PPA is none other than the Chief Constable alone.)

Dr Charlie Vivian says the process, his process,  is quasi-judicial, but we are not convinced he understands what that means. His actions indicate he thinks he has unbridled power, including the right to discard the normal legal and ethical standards of conduct required of a decision-maker.

At a rare and brief resumption of normality, the National Wellbeing and Engagement Forum (formerly the NAMF) reconvened in September after their lack of members hiatus, and Dr Vivian sat at the same table as Andrew Colley of Staffordshire HR.  This is unacceptable. Wouldn’t it be quite a thing for a judge or a coroner to seen hobnobbing over lunch with representatives of the prosecution and having discussions during the course of which the acceptability of process is discussed in the absence of the defendant and the public?

This behaviour would not serve the best interests of open, transparent justice but it’s sadly happened before. Health Management Ltd. has a Home Office contract to run police medical appeal boards but they only recently realised attending NWEF/NAMF compromises their independence. Or perhaps they knew all along but thought that nobody would notice, or care.

Their realisation of the bias was minuted in the June 2016 NAMF conference


This never stopped the chair of HML (and therefore head of all PMAB panelists) regularly attending NAMF himself whilst on the side labeling himself as a consultant of HML and giving speeches to the Association of Local Authority Medical Advisors (ALAMA) on the pitfalls SMPs face at PMAB hearings.

Take a look at this agenda of a 2012 ALAMA conference

Wallington spent 45 minutes advising SMPs about how to avoid the pitfalls for the unwary at a PMAB.  Perhaps Wallington should perform the same service for those disabled former officers who are forced to attend PMABs because of an unjust SMP decision?

The Home Office has declared via a freedom of information request that very same Dr Wallington is the only PMAB panel member to attend a NAMF conference.  Just look at question 5 found towards the bottom of this request:

34242.pdf

This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request ‘ Police Medical Appeal Board’.

Vivian claims he acts in a quasi-judicial capacity, but like Wallington, the company he keeps seems to suggest he is in cahoots with one side to the detriment of the other.  What legal precedent does Dr Vivian rely on in the quasi-judicial matters in hand? First off, he thinks he is a coroner.  Secondly, he thinks the Scottish high court judgement of Rooney v Strathclyde 2008 empowers him to be a coroner.  The Rooney case is not dissimilar to the England & Wales judicial review of Sidwell v Derbyshire 2015.  Both say a court only has limited scope to interfere with medical opinions supporting decision to compulsorily retire a police officer.

We’ve delved into the inner workings of the Internet and found the Rooney case.  Here is it is:

MATTHEW ROONEY Petitioner; against STRATHCLYDE JOINT POLICE BOARD

There is the not insignificant matter that Scottish courts have no judicial precedent over England & Wales as Scotland has a different legal system.  Judicial precedent refers to the set of rules specifying when a court must have regard to, or consider, the decision of another court, and the circumstances in which the decision of that other court is binding. What is decided in Scotland applies only to Scotland.

Quoting a Scottish court decision to support a view is rather like claiming that as they drive on the right in Canada, then it is OK to do so in Burton-on-Trent.

Vivian also has the problem that the Rooney judgement, read in its entirety, does not give SMPs in Scotland the quasi-judicial power he purports it does.  In fact the only reference to the term “quasi-judicial” comes from an extract from a letter written by the solicitors for the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS) to palliate the position of the SMP, a Dr Patience.

The purpose of the letter was to inform Rooney’s solicitors that the MDDUS was content that Dr Patience’s decision should be defended by Stathclyde Joint Police Board,  and that Dr Patience would not therefore be taking part in the proceedings.

The judges in the Rooney case didn’t say, as claimed:

The regulations required him to act in a quasi-judicial capacity and to construe complex regulations that have been the subject of repeated litigation in recent years, and to grasp legal distinctions of some nicety … However, he did not have the benefit of a legally qualified clerk or assessor.

The above was actually quoted in this letter from the SMP’s professional body, the MDDUS.  So Dr Vivian is using a quote from a letter, referring to a Scottish court case, from a professional body representing the very doctor whose decision is being challenged, and is claiming this as a legal precedent and therefore case law!  Wow … just wow.

We don’t expect our lawyers to be experts on medical matters, and neither do the Regulations expect SMPs to be experts on legal matters. They have to follow the Regulations, and if they need guidance in that respect, they should be able to rely on their PPA. As so many PPA’s have little to no grasp of the requirements of the Regulations, and as the Home Office has decided not to issue any more guidance, SMPs have been turning to the biased and plainly wrong opinions presented by the likes of Nicholas Wirz, via the College of Policing and the NWEF.

That is a recipe for disaster. Just as our wrong-headed driver in Burton-On-Trent would discover.

So back to our quasi-judicialness.  The decision of a SMP is final and is binding on all parties (save if appealed via Regulation 31 or Regulation 32) or challenged by way of judicial review.  This is the only meaning implied by the Regulations in a judicial sense.

Scotland has The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service which is the independent public prosecution service for Scotland and is an inquisitorial legal system where the court or a part of the court is actively involved in investigating the facts of the case.  England & Wales does not have anything remotely close to this.

Dr Vivian, the NWEF, and Wirz should not be quoting Scottish law to bolster their biased and self-serving perversions of the Regulations. That itself is bad enough, and is unprofessional in the extreme, but we are appalled to see them use these false arguments to attempt to bully and bluster vulnerable disabled people into compliance with their extra-regulatory demands.

The role of a SMP is not quasi-judicial.  The decision of a SMP is quasi-judicial insomuch that it is a decision which invokes finality and has to be implemented. Dr Vivian, please take note.

 

 

 

 

 

Merseyside Chief Responds

Merseyside Chief Responds

“A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.”
― Edward R. Murrow

We puzzled over whether to put this in the “news” or the “views” section.  It is news, no doubt about that.  A chief constable has not only replied to IODPA but has given his permission for us to publish the letter.

We thank Chief Constable Andy Cooke for being open and transparent.  This is in stark contrast to Gareth Morgan, the former Temporary CC of Avon & Somerset and now the Chief Constable of Staffordshire who has blocked a registered charity on the Twitters.

So why is this “news” published here, in the “views” bit of our website?  Indubitably this first contact will hopefully be the start of many conversations we have with the two-hat wearing Chief Constables, but simply we’ve been here before and we need to give context.  So a blog it is.

We tweeted to Andy Cooke that reduction of injury awards in his force have been made without using a selected medical practitioner.  The letter we sent him explained our concerns.

This is Mr Cooke’s reply:
Merseyside CC Iodpa 290817

The Roman god Janus is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past.  Chief constables are also the police pension authority, as well as the chief, with a overriding juxtaposition of not using the power of the latter to squeeze those adjudicated by the former.  Like Janus, the Chief/PPA has to be aware of what has gone on in the past; why words have to be backed up with trust and why trust is severely lacking in the sphere of injury awards.  What has happened in the past means words in the present can be glib and, with no disrespect meant to Andy Cooke, trite.

PCC Sue Mounstevens repeatedly said that the reviews conducted in Avon & Somerset were being carried out correctly when the true evidence was to the contrary.  She even told a member of parliament that all was good.  In November 2008 the Assistant Chief Constable Nick Croft of South Wales Police said it was OK to reduce injury awards.   Norman Bettison and David Crompton, former chief and deputy chief respectively of West Yorkshire, police defended unlawful reduction of injury awards by saying  “some very difficult and emotive choices” had to be made.  In 2009 a report was published by Derbyshire police that  talked openly about the savings to be made by reducing injury awards.  Here’s the table of projected savings they used:

Reviews undertaken in period 81
Number of reductions 38
1st year Savings £150,589.00
Savings projected to age 65 £909,229.00
Savings projected to age 75 £2,507,329.00

Last but not least there was Julie Spence, at the time the chief constable of Cambridgeshire who was adamant that she had to reduce injury awards even when it explained to her that to do so was unlawful:

“If it means that I will not use tax-payers money where I do not have the authority to do so then I agree” …
“I have sought and received advice about Home Office Guidance that NARPO had advised allows discretion, and been told very clearly that it is mandatory”

To say the evidence of legacy wrongs is vast is the understatement of the decade.

So back to Merseyside.  There is a disconnect between Mr Cooke saying a SMP was used compared to the first-hand reports of those reduced by Merseyside without seeing a SMP.   We know of at least five people who are clear that they were reduced by the Merseyside medical retirement officer, Peter Owens, on the basis of questionnaire answers.  They same the same thing: they did not see a SMP.

It is also worth considering the email the Avon & Somerset Head of Resources (finance & HR) Julian Kern sent to Merseyside when he thanked them for their hospitality back in 2015.

 We applaud the engagement of Mr Cooke and hope such communication continues.  There is a huge amount of historical information out in ‘the wild‘ that shows the real narrative of how injury awards are administered and we have the social media tools to show contradictions, such as exists between the email from Kern and the letter from Mr Cooke.

If the recollection of the past is wrong, is it misspeaking when a chief says things were done right?  It doesn’t matter that we can’t verify it, the objective truth still exists in the universe.  It also doesn’t matter that he feels like he’s telling the truth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Charity Number is 1174473

Our Charity Number is 1174473

Injury On duty Pensioners Association has just received registration status from the Charity Commission and is now a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) with a Registered Charity Number 1174473

A CIO is a charity which is also incorporated. In law it is recognised as a legal entity. The trustees benefit from having limited liability. An Association CIO model means our membership has voting rights that can help determine the direction of IODPA.

Charities are recognised publicly as being for the wider good (not just the good of their own members). Being a charity gives us that public recognition.

The existence of IODPA – there to help those injured on duty – is a distinct realignment.   We do not exist to absolve chief constables in providing welfare and a safety net, but because chief constables have failed to provide.  The charity of our members, those themselves injured on duty, needs to take over where the ability of the police service to look after its injured has failed.

We hope to not work in opposition to chief constables but in conjunction with them, to tell them what needs to be done for the public benefit by supporting those injured on duty.  A hard task when some chief constables block our message on social media, but not an impossible one.

IODPA would like to thank its members and supporters to allow us to get this far.  This is the start of something new.

 

 

Judge, Jury And Jackass

Judge, Jury And Jackass

“One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.”
― Michael J. Fox

There is a selected medical practitioner.  Let us be irreverent and childish and call him Dr Brush.  Dr Brush works for a particular force but sometimes he extends his range.  On one such occasion he came South, the midlands in fact, to perform a Regulation 37 review as the incumbent SMP of that parish had breathed his last breath.

On a midwinter’s morning there were two doctors sat behind a desk.  One was Dr Brush, the other was a specialist in his particular arena.  Across the desk from our two medical practitioners sat three members of the public.  Perfect in their own way, there was nothing special, remarkable or wondrous about these three other people other than one was entitled to an injury award – and accordingly Dr Brush thought this individual had no rights – and the remaining two were there to give much needed succour.  Indeed even in the surreal world of injury awards, Dr Brush must have surely been of the opinion that two doctors to one vulnerable person without any companionship would be … Oppressive? Intolerable?  Overwhelming? Abusive? You choose the appropriate adjective.

So there were five people in this room.  The medical examination under Regulation 37 “took place”.

For 200 minutes the “interview” raged.  Voices were raised.  Tempers flared.  Dr Brush thought he had evidence of substantial change but would not tell the three sat opposite him what that change was supposed to be. And then it was over, in a manner not unlike an EU/UK Brexit negotiation, without a standout conclusion.

Dr Brush had burnt himself out red faced and confrontational; the specialist was no doubt thinking along the lines “what is this corruption of an assessment“; the person with an injury award was in tears and inconsolable and suffering the manifesting agonising symptoms of the PTSD they suffered from; and the accompanying friends were thinking what corner of hell were they just privy to.

Within days the  specialist disqualified himself from the debacle – he said he can’t be party to such an intimidating process.  Mr Brush did the same but for different reasons – now without an ally he was open to be discredited and he begrudgingly walked away only after igniting a bomb – he dropped the microphone with menacingly aplomb.  Brush wrote to the midland based police force and told them the person with an injury award failed to attend a medical examination by failing to answer his questions.  The Kafkaesque interpretation is that Dr Brush did not get the answers he wanted.

Within days, thinking their ships had all come in at once with the green light from Dr Brush, the police force removed, totally and entirely, the injury award.  Suddenly the cogs of justice clunked together and a solicitor put a stop to this madness.  The injury award was restored but missed the following payroll.  Six weeks elapsed before the victim received the money they had always been due.

Roll on to the present to Staffordshire and a Dr Charlie Vivian.  Andrew Colley, the HR operative in Staffordshire has given several dates for people to see Dr Vivian.  You see, the paper-sift potential of only sending certain select individuals seemingly ripe (to Colley) for reduction through questionnaire answers has been denied to Mr Colley.  Arguably the mass review program should end here but Colley thought he had no other option but to give dates to see the SMP.

These dates were booked for late August but Staffordshire changed its mind (or Dr Vivian was otherwise engaged) and rearranged them for mid-September.  Some people were to see Dr Vivian locally in Staffordshire, some will have to travel a 180 mile round trip – it being 90 miles to Dr Vivian’s office in Cheltenham.  The arbitrary criteria to travel (or not) seemed to be based on gender.  Males got Cheltenham, females Staffordshire.

All these appointments were made with full knowledge of what the person with the injury award had or had not disclosed.  The dates were rescheduled with the same insight.

Just a matter of days before the attendance, Dr Vivian has cancelled indefinitely all the appointments on the basis that he now demands to have full medical records – the only permissible redaction he allows is where the medical records show third party identifiers of family members.

You see, Vivian – like Brush – think they are judges and that they can subpoena people to conditionally attend only if they provide full medicals from birth and that this conditional attendance isn’t under duress – no, it’s of your own volition apparently.  You “shall” do this and you “shall” do that but you shall do this willingly “or else“.

Incidentally Vivian is using the same terms inventing his quasi-judicial power than Brush used.  Coincidence?  We think not.

Staffordshire thought that by doling out dates they could pass their problem of fishing for change to justify a review to the SMP. Vivian doesn’t seem to want to play ball so he has bounced the conditional threats back to the vulnerable and disabled former officer.  DCC Baker recently told Police Oracle that no awards will be suspended.  Will they use Dr Vivian’s teddy and pram Olympic throwing event as a gold opportunity to renege on this?  If they believe Vivian’s whining remonstration then it seems judicial reviews on this matter are inevitable.

Now there is the self-made ignominious fiasco of a police pension authority (Staffordshire) trying to use the SMP to leverage compliance.  Just like Dr Brush used his position to bully and intimidate a former police officer with a psychological illness.

We remember how Dr Philip Johnson dug himself into holes by blustering and flustering when dealing with the now cancelled mass review program in Avon & Somerset.  History seems to be repeating itself.  No one working for the police seems to learn.

We thought you should know…