“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.
Yes. Thank you for asking.
— Chief Con Andy Cooke (@MerPolChiefCon) September 13, 2017
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.
Morgan @StaffsPoliceCC has blocked us on Twitter? We asked him to comment on his forces threats to pensioners. @Police_Oracle @ianweinfass pic.twitter.com/ARMDzqsEJr
— iodpaorg (@iodpaorg) 20 August 2017
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:
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.
26 thoughts on “Merseyside Chief Responds”
I don’t think I have the strength or mental capacity to be able to contemplate a further review with Miseryside having had a paper one done by Peter Owens three and a half years ago. No changes were made but I anticipate a day when the goalposts will change and I feel anxious and unsettled with that prospect. Admittedly my state of mind isn’t good after 30 years in that force and the only recompense I have is my pension. But we are all different and some are stronger than others, it’s just amazing how the hot breath of Police management still has the potential to reach out and turn your life upside down.
Why the Police cannot comply with the regulations.
It is well known that the reason for the mass reviewing of IODA’s is because their budgets are shrinking, and it is a cost cutting exercise.
The Avon and Somersets’ very own PCC way back in 2014, in her now infamous letter to Damian Green stated as much.
Unfortunately, this is NOT a reason for undertaking a review under R37 PIBR, so they have failed before they even start.
In order for them to achieve what they would like to achieve, ie, mass savings, compliance with the Regs is not possible. We all remember when a certain Buffoon, I could use many other more relevant expletives for this disgusting horrible individual, Nicholas Wirtz, when he virtually wiped out IODA’s in Northumbria.
It is those teachings, that they have all latched onto, but now they are being held to account.
To start with, they should of course review everyone. Bands 1 through to 4.
Certainly in the Staffordshire Police case where some 95% of their IODA’s are Band 1, because of their own illegal practice of PEAM, should they actually comply with the regulations, their IODA budget would more than likely go through the roof. Because as sure as eggs is eggs, they are NOT Band 1’s!
Should a Police Officer be deemed permanently disabled under the Police Regulations from carrying out his or her duties as a Police Officer by the SMP, what part of the Police Regulations permits you to carry out an unlawful calculation regarding his or her injury awards, given that the decision of the SMP is final.
Should a Police Officer, so deemed unable to carry on his duties as
a Constable, because of his disability retire on an annual salary
of £37500, please explain to me how given a Permanent disablement figure of 75% by the SMP, he or she can be placed in the banding level 1?
So they cannot review Band 1’s, and that is discriminatory!
Avon and Somesh@t did’nt even bother to do that! Just go for the most expensive one’s straight away!
Given that they are now waiting for new legislation, I am assuming, that hey are just hoping that those of us who are elderly, will just die soon. In fact that is Dr Bullpitts very own preference.
So compliance with the regs, compliance with the DPA, would just about destroy the entire review process, but as the ICO, are the Police’ puppet, one avenue is closed off.
They of course know all this, which is why their legal costs are so high, because they are forever trying to ” Bend ” the rules while staying onside. Unfortunately for them, they are prone to diving, and constantly straying offside by a country mile, and leave themselves down a blind alley.
Unfortunately for them, the Regs, are there for the Officers’ protection, not their evil hatched plans, for mass cost cutting!
It’s all about the money.
Mrs Mountstevens replied to several MPs telling them that her forces reviews were being done within the regulations, well we all know that wasn’t true.
Now all she does is hands out certificates for good work, she has distanced herself so far away from reviews but I’m afraid it was done on her watch. So much for checks and balances.
That Merseyside’s Chief Constable has at least replied to the IODPA is a small step in the right direction.
Unfortunately his reply is can pretty much be summarised as a denial of any wrong doing or improper action.
His reply also raises further questions to be answered,
How long has his force been conducting these reviews? 519 cases, all, it is claimed reviewed by a Selected Medical Practitioner is a considerable undertaking.
Did the SMP actually see all of these pensioners or was this a “paper review” at least in part ?
Did the SMP complete a report for each and every review or was one completed on his behalf for him to simply read and sign?
Until quite recently, Merseyside Police were conducting reviews by improperly demanding that a made up questionnaire be completed and full medical records from birth be disclosed.
Further they actually unlawfully withdrew a former injured officers pension when he quite rightly stood his ground and refused to comply with these improper demands.
It was only at the eleventh hour, under threat of Court Action that they removed the threats for failure to complete the questionnaire and re-instated the former officers pension.
The worm has turned and slowly but surely the Police are being made to comply with the Regulations to the letter.
I am always mystified as to why solicitors acting on behalf IOD pensioners do not now say enough is enough and once and for all get CC’s and the staff that they appearing to be covering up for to actually produce evidence in open court under the threat of being personally sued under the vicarious liability that they are ignoring.
I recall reading less than 2 months ago that Merseyside Police conceded a judicial review and paid costs for wrongdoing in one of their IoD reviews. Clearly that is at odds with CC’s statement that their reviews are in accordance with the regulations. A lapse of memory?
This is the very same Peter Owens who declared himself the Medical Retirement Officer, once he had retired from the Force.
While it is pleasing to note that we have had a response from Merseyside CC, who is confident that everything is done by the book, alas that is not actually the case.
They continue to hold medical, personal and sensitive data, without proper authority, FOI 20 June 2016.
Peter Owens we know has been involved in reducing Officers pensions solely on the basis of income declared.
Again on the 18th of March this year, when it was discovered that Owens was in deed dealing with IOD reviews another FOI was sent to them asking for the details of his professional qualifications, because of course Owens should have had some medical qualifications, in order to deal with a R37 review.
Caught with their pants down again, request refused……S14 of the FOI, the liars’ defence mechanism ……. Vexatious.
Why they didnt just reply and say, Owens hasnt got any medical qualifications, because he is a complete twat, I really don’t know.
Because as soon as they went all vexatious, you know they are hiding something! And you damned well know, the total sum of his qualifications could be written on a pinhead.
Still Further, they the Merseyside Police, decided to sink to untold depths to try and actually defend their position, by using in effect, a civilian to assess IOD pensions, and another response from them came, this time actually blaming IODPA for enquiring about Owens! Can you actually believe their idiocy?
“The above view is regrettably correct, being confirmed by a public website, a self-styled injury award pensioner association and Facebook pages of another unofficial police related site. There are a number of ‘articles’ on the site which clearly refer to police staff involved in the Medical Retirement Team and one particular individual. The articles are of a kind that brings no credit to the authors, are misleading, offensive and may be unlawful in terms of the language used, as they appear to serve no purpose other than to belittle and harass police staff including one case which uses a vivid graphic associated more with horror productions rather than balance intelligent commentary.”
Thanks for your useless letter Chief Constable, because it is just more of the same, BullSh@t, and Owens still survives!
The point is, that these reviews were carried out unlawfully, end of story. There is no excuse, there is not a tale to tell, IOD’s were bullied by Peter Owens, to fill in the questionnaire, and as soon as the ” disclosed earnings ” were made apparent, his eyes lit up, and this then apparently justifies the Regulation 37 review process, because earnings equals substantial change.
Err NO IT DOESN’T!
The fact is Merseyside are just as rotten to the core as Staffs are, and all the others, they just havent got the balls to admit that they are wrong, and the position of IODPA is correct.
It is very good that a CC is actually communicating with IODPA, unlike the Staffs CC. when will forces realise that they do have to follow the rules of law and must be honest and open to gain the trust of their coummunity they serve. ultimately it will cost the forces more money, so can we stop being the ‘Tinkerman” and follow what is the rule of law please.
Let’s get back to basics here. Regulation 37 – the ‘review’ regulation says this:
’37.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this Part, where an injury pension is payable under these Regulations, the police authority shall, at such intervals as may be suitable, consider whether the degree of the pensioner’s disablement has altered; and if after such consideration the police authority find that the degree of the pensioner’s disablement has substantially altered, the pension shall be revised accordingly.’
I believe that Merseyside believed it was enacting the ‘consider’ part of regulation 37 when it decided those 485 pensioners had no alteration in degree of disablement.
But, this raises a most important issue. Degree of disablement is a medical matter. It requires a duly qualified medical practitioner, i.e. a doctor, to decide whether there has been any alteration or not. Merseyside used, we think, a civilian employee with no medical qualifications to make these decisions of no alteration. He, and I say ‘he’ because it was most likely Peter Owens, made his decisions based on the replies to his questionnaire. He decided on the basis of salary, or changes in salary.
We know this because elsewhere he has gone on record as asking pensioners to alert the force if they have a 10% increase in earnings. (No mention of alerting when they had a decrease.)
So, his decisions were not based on medical information. He might have thought that was therefore legal.
Sorry, Chief Constable, but all those no alteration reviews were not lawful. They would be overturned should one pensioner take this to a judicial review or to the Pensions Ombudsman.
The Chief Constable thinks Owens has saved the force a lot of money by holding reviews without having to pay a SMP. He is wrong. If he wants to save some money he should sack Owens and save the cost of his salary.
I suggest to the Chief Constable that if he would like to know how to comply with the Regulations, then IODPA will be happy to send someone along to explain it to him. The Chief Constable needs to wake up and realise that he is being misinformed by Owens and others, whose ignorance knows no bounds.
There appears to be clear evidence that some officers may have been reduced without seeing an SMP. It would have been a very easy task for the Chief Constable to have asked to see the H1 certificates of those that were reduced. If he didn’t then you have to question why?
The question is “Has the Chief Constable lied in order to cover up what has taken place, or have his staff lied to the Chief Constable in order to cover up what they have done”?
Time will provide the answer.
Finally a CC/PPA responds which is good, but the reply is very careful not to really answer the questions put. It is clear from the numbers concerned that the majority were vetted via an unlawful ‘Questionnaire’, no doubt determining potential ‘candidates’ to send to the SMP. Did they expect the 4 to get an increase? I doubt it.
This reply opening dialogue now needs to develop further and probe how this ‘team’ actually operates. The CC/PPA cannot wriggle out of his responsibility if it is found out this ‘team’ operated outside the regs.
As regards to Staffordshire, it seems they tried to copy A&S and Merseyside with no doubt others waiting in the wings. The way these forces are operating their IOD pension systems needs investigation as there appears to be much wrong here. Well done IODPA.
It’s great the CC’s had the decency to reply, let’s hope he stays in touch and tries to help.
But really, there should NOT be ANY iod reviews unless the iod persons themselves ask for one.
The clues in the name when your retired “PERMANENTLY DISABLED”
Permanant being the pertinent word.
But as per usual with the Police they have rules like the Emperors new clothes! Sometimes you see them sometimes you don’t !!!!!
Is CC Cooke saying that of 514 reviews conducted only 29 were referred to an SMP and of theses 29 all were changed (either up or down). So the 514 were all initially paper reviews conducted by non-medical personnel (fishing trip reviews seeking cannon fodder for the SMP)?
The A&S to Merseyside letter very clearly indicates that that Merseryside WERE actually using the questionnaire as a fishing trip and also it was in total considered as a ‘review’ possibly only being followed up (in some cases) by an SMP exam. I think we can be sure that the author’s recollection of what he described as an ‘in depth discussion’ as accurate enough for his recollection that an SMP was not used’ would be spot on. Pretty interesting to be able to get this letter and nice of CC Cooke to add his take on the situation.
It is good to see that the Chief actually replied to the letter rather than just ignoring it. The reply however is a typical reply and not totally unexpected. I hope that in the fullness of time these claims made by the chief are proved wrong and that all IODs will eventually be treated correctly. It is a sad time that former officers are treated so badly by their former forces.
Is this him distancing himself from a deeply flawed process, or is his Medical Retirement Team telling him lies. We know they have reduced medical pensions just using their questionnaire and no examination by an SMP.
Perhaps someone should enlighten him that this has happened on more than one occasion.
I think it is great that the CC had the courtesy to respond to the tweet, asking that you write to him with your concerns and then, respectfully replying to that letter.
It is nice to see an open and honest response and I would guess that is one of the only direct responses from questions IOD pensioners have asked of their forces. I think though that the CC needs to remember he has served many years as a police officer and has not lost his investigative skills because he needs to examine that what he has been told by his staff has been totally truthful. I think the CC would be utterly shocked if he knew what we members of IODPA know now. Unlawful practices have been followed FOR YEARS and have raised real legal battles once the IOD pensioner discovers what has been done.
I sincerely hope that all CC’s examine and check that their PPA departments are thoroughly honest and open and truly follow the IOD Pension Rules and Regulations to the letter.
Interesting letter, well done to the Chief Constable of Merseyside for replying. He has more of a backbone than his Staffordshire counterpart.
Gareth Morgan ought to take some lessons from those more experienced than himself on how to conduct himself in public.
Back to the topic in question; from reading your comments on this thread, there were most definitely people reduced by someone other than the SMP. Who was it? Who gave him the power to do this? How long has this been going on for? How many Pensioners over the years have been reduced unlawfully by a non medical person?
Congratulations to those in IODPA for gaining charity status. You utterly deserve it. There has long been a call for help in this area, you fill that niche perfectly. Well done to all concerned.
I would expect a police officer, whether a PC or CC to provide evidence to support any conclusion.
Such as DR ????? Who acted as SMP has provided me with a redacted report that he sent to the IOD.
Further more if that many IODS were reviewed it must have been a pretty quick process, I know a force that has taken about three years and only carried out abou 20 reviews.
I don’t believe that it would be a viable option to reduce an IOD on a questionnaire or out of date medical notes I would have thought that to carry out a review the SMP would have to have a face to face meeting with the iod.
The CC is going to be in a spot of bother if what he has quoted turns out to be wrong. Oooops
Do not trust the CC. I’ve seen him in action first hand. He’ll know exactly what is going on. This is the same man who stated that women shouldn’t get any varied or compressed hours in the police service
Someone is telling lies to him, my injury pension was reduced , I never saw a SMP, the Medical Retirement Team made that decision based on my salary. I shall be asking for a copy of the ficticous (in my case) Medical notes. Lets see what they produce
If I read the response from the CC/PPA Mr Cooke correctly, he states that 514 reviews were conducted. Of those 29 reviews were conducted by an SMP and these resulted in 25 reductions and 4 increases. All of this took place in a nine month period in 2015.
He acknowledges that any decision regarding an alteration of disablement has to be determined by the SMP as his Medical Retirement Team do not act as Reviewing Officers as they are not medically qualified and their use in this capacity would be inappropriate.
So who reviewed the 485 IOD’s who did not either decrease or increase. There is no mention in his reply who did this work. He has though stated that it wasn’t his Medical Retirement Team because they administer the process but don’t act as Reviewing Officers.
So what does administer the process actually mean?
It probably means that they trawled through the illegally obtained questionnaires and medical records for any one who they had a chance to decrease, and put that IOD up to the SMP.
Of the 29 only 13.8% were increased against the 86.2% who were decreased.
The burning question is who actually reviewed the 94% of IOD’s who remained on their current banding?
Perhaps Mr Cooke would care to enlighten us?
I suspect Mr. Cooke will come to rue the day he listened to his staff and didn’t dig deeper.
He is probably several steps away from the coal face and whether the coal face would dare tell the truth is debatable. Not because they are liars, but because keeping the secret depends on them keeping their lousy paid admin job.
It is invariable the ones further up the food chain who adapt the truth to fit the scenario. And their own, greed fueled agenda.
Such a thorn in Farce’s sides injured Officers must be – maybe one day they’ll realise that its dangerous out there and Officers will unfortunately get hurt!
Until then theres only one single viable solution – have no Officers on the ground at all! Thats the only logical, conceivable way to achieve savings on not having injured Officers. Rocket science it isn’t.
The CC’s explanation should be challenged and independently reviewed given the conflicting information. We cannot simply accept what the CC says in these circumstances
Good to see at least one CC is engaging with IODPA, let us hope that it’s seen as an example to be followed by his counterparts elsewhere.
If it’s any consolation, you’re not missing much by being blocked on Staffs CC’s Twitter feed – it’s a catalogue of buzzwords and platitudes, his time could be better spent.
Somebody is telling lies then but what can be done about it unless those affected can actually see the SMP notes and correspondence back to Merseyside. Trust seems to be the issue here and if lies are being exposed then it’s a sorry day for the service and Police integrity.
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