Nothing to say, Mr Giffard?

“You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in Court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.” Police caution to suspects.

Only in the oppressive, nightmarish and twisted universe of some SMP assessments can someone in ‘attendance‘ be told that not answering questions to the satisfaction of the inquisitor is refusing to attend.  It is likely to be a cold day in Hell before the former police officers are given the same protections of adverse inferences than those suspected of crime.  Even John Giffard, who was Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police from 1996 to 2006, should get to explain his version of events and his dealing with injury awards without getting to hear the police caution directed at him.

Anyone can make mistakes but below we evidence some extraordinary, and very hard to explain behaviour by Giffard and leave it to our readers to decide what lasting legacy such actions have had on present day injury awards reviews.

For sure, anything which he has done, or failed to do, will be brushed to one side by his former chums in the National Police Chiefs Council. These people are well schooled in the art of never admitting any wrongdoing and in protecting their own. They, and Giffard, would have known exactly what Gordon Gekko meant when he said, “Moral hazard is when they take your money and then are not responsible for what they do with it.”

Gekko, played by Michael Douglas in two films about the unrestrained greed exhibited by Wall Street bankers and money men, could well have appeared as a character in another spin-off film about the moral bankruptcy of certain senior officers, SMPs and others. Expanding on Gekko’s definition we can identify moral hazard as a situation where somebody has the opportunity to take advantage of somebody else by taking risks that the other will pay for. The idea is that people might ignore the moral implications of their choices: instead of doing what is right, they do what benefits them the most.

In Giffard’s case, he very clearly did not do what was right. Quite the opposite in fact, and, to make matters worse, he did it as authorised spokesperson for every Chief Constable, Deputy Chief Constable and Assistant Chief Constable, the Deputy Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner, Deputy Assistant Commissioner and Commanders of the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police and certain senior non-police staff and senior members of national police agencies and certain other specialised and non-geographical forces in the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. In total, he spoke for over 300 very senior police managers, all of whom were members of the then Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). Apparently, not a single one of these worthies realised Giffard had made a major boo-boo.

Unless – they agreed with what he wrote. Which is a scenario of corruption of frightening proportions.

So, let’s see what Giffard did. Back in 2004 he was ACPO lead for pensions when one Colin Phillips, Police Pensions and Ill Health Retirement Officer within the Crime Reduction and Community Safety Group within the Home Office wrote to ACPO. Phillips was seeking the view of  all Chief Officers, via ACPO, on some guidance the Home Office was intending to publish concerning the management of police injury pensions.

Here is Phillips’ letter.

 The guidance was published in August 2004. It was the infamous, and since-proven unlawful advice contained in Annex C to Home Office circular 46/2004. It said,

‘Review of Injury Pensions once Officers reach 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.’

With this guidance in mind some 15 or so forces set about holding reviews with the intention of robbing elderly disabled former officers of their rightful pensions. We need not go into the detailed history of those appalling reviews and the hugely harmful effect they had on vulnerable individuals and their families, but it is sufficient to say that the guidance had to be withdrawn once the courts had declared it to be unlawful.

However, it has left a legacy of continuing maladministration in its wake. Moreover, it signified the unveiling of what had been hitherto thinly concealed antagonistic attitudes held by some senior officers and managers against police injury pensioners. For reasons we can only guess, some people seem to think that all injury pensioners are ‘working the system’, or are too generously recompensed for their injuries, or that injury pensions are fair game for any Chief Officer who wants to trim the force budget.

If the Home Office guidance was the trigger for an era of outrageous manipulation of the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations, where certain forces have sought to make cash savings by attempts to reduce the level of injury pension payments, then the letter which Giffard, on behalf of ACPO, wrote to the Home Office is the smoking gun which signifies exactly who must hold responsibility for all maladministration occurring since 2004.

This is what Giffard replied to the Home Office.

Astoundingly, what we read is evidence that a very senior police officer, speaking on behalf of all other very senior police officers thinks that it is perfectly lawful to take away the injury pensions of all 12,000 plus disabled former officers once they reach the age of 65. Moreover, this is to be achieved by means of some guidance issued by the Home Office. Guidance which has no legal authority and is of no more value than any other piece of advice. In other words, ACPO thinks the law can be changed by Home Office guidance.

If we search for reasons why this crass letter was penned and delivered to the Home Office, signifying the total agreement of all very senior police officers and managers to an illegal action, we can only see two possibilities. Either Giffard and all said senior personnel were utterly unaware, to the point of gross negligence, that injury pensions can not be reduced or ceased as suggested, or all concerned were aware and willing to be party to a conspiracy to pervert the rule of law.

This is such a serious matter that IODPA thought it best to give Giffard an opportunity to offer an explanation for his actions.

Accordingly, we wrote to him. This is what we said:

 We anticipated that Giffard might simply ignore IODPA or he might dispel all our suspicions and make a handsome apology for what was a most grievous error.

Giffard did neither. He surprised us by taking what looks like a cowardly way out. He sent our letter to the National Police Chiefs Council for them to deal with. What a cop-out. Not at all the actions of an honourable man.

I wish we could say that the NPCC responded in a positive manner. That would be too much to hope for, as we know only too well that nothing has changed at the top. First ACPO sells out disabled police pensioners, and now the NPCC waffles and says nothing which addresses the issue. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Here is the NPCC’s response.

It is interesting (a surprise to those currently being reviewed) to read that the NPCC chair, Chief Constable Sara Thornton, states quite clearly that:

Forces are no longer initiating new reviews of police injury benefit benefits, pending the issue of new guidance or directions

Nobody is going to be sent round to Giffard’s modest little country pile to invite him down the local nick to answer some questions. No boys or girls in blue are going to be raiding the NPCC for more documentary evidence of possible corruption or misconduct in public office. What we witness here is no more than what we have come to expect – complete denial of wrongdoing by way of batting off any complaints, criticisms or enquiries with meaningless measly-mouthed platitudes. And an unshakable certainty that they are all above the law.

If you want a glimpse into the murky world of top police management, then Giffard’s letter is the litmus test which indicates the presence of an endemic disdain for ethics and law totally at odds with the standards of behaviour and management we all have a right to expect from our police service.

Mr Giffard. your silence speaks more loudly than any protestations of innocence ever could.

Nothing to say, Mr Giffard?

11 thoughts on “Nothing to say, Mr Giffard?

  • 2017-12-01 at 3:25 pm

    The reply from Sara Thornton is frankly insulting to all IODs. It wouldn’t be the first time that a most senior officer hasn’t got the faintest idea of what’s going on….or purposefully makes out they don’t! They are not fit to wear the uniform. I am disgusted!

    The original letters between the HO and Gifford show what the official side think of their troops. We have been and always will be cannon fodder. The official side should not be trusted in any matter whatsoever.

  • 2017-12-01 at 3:06 pm

    When an officer signs a 30 year contract of service it is expected that he/she will have the benefit of 30 years pension earnings when they retire. That would be a good, healthy pension in relation to the fact that they had maintained good heath and managed to get through those 30 years of duty without getting seriously injured whilst doing it.

    When an officer is IOD and is forcibly retired he/she is immediately deprived of whatever number of years would be left of their contract. No matter what level of IOD pension they might receive it will be nowhere near what they could have earned by working a full 30 years contract. Notice, I have not mentioned anything about losing any chances of promotions which would have notably increased the amount of the 30 year service pension. None of that pension would be reduced at age 65!!!

    How come those in high office cannot manage to understand that? IOD pensioners, even if EVERY ONE of them was on Band 4, would be receiving anywhere near the amount of pension they would have received had they been able to finish the 30 years??? Do they ALL want to be famous for the money they have saved by harrassing, bullying and plainly defrauding IOD pensioners???

  • 2017-11-26 at 10:28 am

    Just realised, this is the guy with a stately home isn’t it ? and probably earns more in a day than I get in a year, his pension isn’t the ‘be all and end all’ like it is for many of us and explains all you need to know why he has so little regard for us and our welfare, wonder how HE would cope spending half his life in a campervan, **** !

  • 2017-11-25 at 5:22 pm

    Regular readers of this column might doubt the accuracy of Sara Thornton’s comment that “The Home Office conducted a consultation on Injury benefits in 2003/2004 and received only two responses (NARPOand ACPO).

    This has been the subject of FOI requests and the ‘survey’ appeared to consist of a ’round the table’ conversation at a NAMF meeting. Perhaps Ms Thornton might have some other information to share?

  • 2017-11-25 at 12:16 pm


    Mr Giffard, is obviously a Dinosaur. Dinosaurs were extremely powerful creatures, of various kinds and sizes, but they had one thing in common.
    They had very small brains.
    It could be argued that Giffard doesn’t actually have one at all, in which case he rose to the position of Chief Snorker, by sticking his nose in places, no normal person would.
    The over 65 thing has been kicked into the weeds by caselaw.
    I am a disabled person.
    Do I suddenly not become disabled at the age of 65?
    I wish!! With all my heart.
    And why 65, when most people’s old age retirement is not until 67 or 68.
    The man is an idiot.
    Plain and simple.
    As for Sara Thornton…..
    She is either lying…..
    Most likely option, because they simply cannot help themselves, or, she is totally ineffectual at her job, & is totally deaf, dumb and blind to the goings on in Staffs, Merseyside, Northumbria under the weasel Wirtz to name but a few.
    If a Police Officer loses his or her livelihood, and the collateral damage that goes with it, due to an injury on duty, they deserve to be looked after for the rest of their lives.
    The regulations are in place for exactly that reason.
    Giffard, mentions compensation claims through the courts.
    These claims are severely restricted because of the way Police Officers are compensated via the framework within the regulations.
    Otherwise, compensation claims would go through the roof.
    If a typist can be awarded £500,000 for RSI, how much would a Police Officer be awarded by the courts, for the loss of his legs?
    Millions. 5 or 6 Million no problem.
    The fact that idiots like Giffard and Thornton can write such drivel, only goes to demonstrate that they have never been in a situation, where such a catastrophe can occur.
    Quite frankly they make me sick.
    They want their cake, and also want to eat it.
    Well sorry, you can’t have it both ways.

  • 2017-11-24 at 11:01 am

    I used to have trust in Chief Constables. That was until the day they became the PPA for their forces. Then a rogue element emerged hell bent on breaking the law to assist their budgets. Some forces choose not to review IOD pensions, and then there are those who actively seek out ways to subvert the regulations, such as Giffard did in 2004. I thank the lord IODPA exist to help battle these corrupt individuals and forces. Well done for exposing the true views of ex Chief Constables who say one thing in public when a brave officer is injured, and the complete opposite to the Home Office. Shame on them all. Oh and by the way Chief Constable Thornton, as of November 2017, Northumbria Police as well as others are still reviewing!! Check your facts.

  • 2017-11-24 at 6:06 am

    That response just beggars belief, it actually reminded me of the end of my last review when I asked Dr Deighton (deceased) ” what’s going to happen now” ? his response, without even looking up, was to shoo me away with the back of his hand replying “I don’t know, I haven’t worked it out yet”.

    Thank you for another brilliant and informative article IODPA, that disdainful response has shown us quite clearly what we are up against and it’s about time these people were held to account in a courtroom.

  • 2017-11-23 at 10:06 pm

    A truly amazing article that exposes the true colours of some of our so-called leaders. I thought that as a serving officer I was expected to serve with honesty and integrity. It’s funny how those in lofty positions obviously did not follow this doctrine and thought they were above the law and could act however they felt. Let’s hope that because of IODPA these wrong doings will be exposed for all to see and that ultimately those in positions of power that allowed these unlawful actions to occur may one day answer for their actions. As for the current head of the NPCC Get your head out of the sand and go out an see for yourself what some forces are doing to injured former officers. If those in power don’t know what is going on what chance do any of us stand with people do blind in power. God help us all!

  • 2017-11-23 at 5:49 pm

    If you were a Chief Constable and Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council responding to a charitable organisation about potential wrongdoing, you would definitely want to reply with honesty, integrity and an impression of knowing what you are talking about.

    Wouldn’t you?

    Well, I am really keen to find out about the honesty, integrity and knowledge of Chief Constable Sara Thornton (Chair of the NPCC) given her statement to the IODPA that, “Forces are no longer initiating new reviews of police injury benefit benefits, pending the issue of new guidance or directions.”

    Hello Ma’am Thornton. I am currently under review and have been for almost 3 years! And, an unlawful review at that given that my Force is threatening to reduce my injury award if I don’t provide my consent (as is my absolute right) to the release of all of my private, confidential medical records from birth.

    Does Chief Constable Thornton truly believe that Forces are not actively reviewing police pensioners in receipt of an injury award?


    Someone needs to bring her quickly up to speed with how Forces are not only reviewing police pensioners but the unlawful tactics they are using in an attempt to reduce the injury awards of those disabled officers.

    It really does beggar belief that a Chief Constable, responding to a charity representing many disgruntled, disabled former police officers, wouldn’t check her facts prior to firing off the response.

    There is literally no hope.

  • 2017-11-23 at 5:23 pm

    Once viewed as a great boss and leader, but on now seeing and experiencing his legacy, it means that my loyalty and regard for him and Staffordshire Police are completely smashed. I sincerely hope that once this injustice is resolved, that maybe, just maybe, we might get an apology. I very much doubt that will happen though!

  • 2017-11-23 at 3:29 pm

    What an informative and interesting read, “ A law unto themselves “ springs to mind. Without the IODPA hunting for and revealing this information and then acting on it on the behalf all IOD pensioners the powers that be would still be riding roughshod over the regulations and all IOD Pensioners Bastards!

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