“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…