Conflict Of Interest

Conflict Of Interest” – A term used to describe the situation in which a public official or fiduciary who, contrary to the obligation and absolute duty to act for the benefit of the public or a designated individual, exploits the relationship for personal benefit, typically pecuniary.

Up until 2006, the source of funding of police injury pensions were the payments which serving officers made, by way of deductions from their salaries, amounting some 11%. Those contributions were intended to be sufficient to covered the costs of the ordinary retirement pension and the injury benefits.

However, in 2006, the Government made the injury benefit scheme a freestanding scheme, ostensibly because this was a move necessary to preserve the tax free status of the injury benefits (gratuity and pension for life).

In 2006, the Police Pension Regulations were amended to remove injury benefits from that legislation and new Regulations – The Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 were made.

The change was necessary because a new tax regime for registered pension schemes – introduced by the Finance Act 2004 – came into effect on 6 April 2006. Any unauthorised payment would thus incur a tax charge. In order not to let the Police Pension Scheme incur such charges, it was necessary to separate the injury benefits from the pension scheme regulations.

However, the Government at the same time also decided that funding for the injury benefit scheme would now come entirely from the operating budget for each force.

We may speculate that the Government was aware, that prior to 2006, there had been some inventive use, shall we say, of the injury benefits. When it suited forces to do so, they could rid themselves of expensive long serving officers of constable and sergeant rank by retiring them on an injury pension. The force could then hire cheaper labour in the form of new recruits.

There is some suggestion that the Government may have encouraged this or at least gave tacit approval.

The immediate effect of the change in funding arrangements meant that some chief officers and police authorities began to view payment of existing injury pensions as a burden – a drain on resources. Those attitudes grew more entrenched whenever the Government required forces to make cuts in spending.

Prior to 2011, the responsibility for all decisions made concerning police injury benefits lay with the police authorities. In practice, the police authorities usually delegated the entire administration of injury benefits to their Chief Constable, who in turn delegated to a senior manager.

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 abolished police authorities in England and Wales, outside of London, on 22 November 2012 replacing them with directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners.

At the same time, the office of Police Pension Authority (PPA) was created. The new office of PPA took on the responsibilities formerly held by the police authorities.

The office of Police Pension Authority was vested in the sole personage of each Chief Constable (with different arrangements in London).

This naturally created the opportunity for a conflict of interest to arise. A Chief Constable was, on one hand, now supposed to be prudent with their force’s budget whilst on the other hand ensuring the scope and purposes of the police injury benefit scheme were promoted and nurtured.

It has proved to be a difficult, sometimes wilfully impossible, task for some Chief Constables to separate out the differing and often conflicting duties of a police pension authority from those of a Chief Constable.

A PPA should be blind to the cost implications of any decisions made regarding the grant or review of injury pensions. It would be entirely wrong, and contrary to the intent of the injury benefit Regulations if a PPA were to allow bias and partiality or irrelevant factors to enter and skew any decision-making process.

A PPA is entitled – even is under a duty – to ensure that injury benefits are paid only at the level to which the recipient is entitled to receive. In practice, some PPAs try to take this to extremes, by making it very difficult for injured officers to get an injury award, and by aggressively using the review provision within the Regulations to harass disabled former officers with a view to reducing their pensions.

Clearly, something needs to change. Either Chief Constables need to stop acting outside the law, or the responsibility for the injury benefit scheme should be handed, through new legislation, to a truly impartial and independent body.

We see no sign of the latter becoming reality, so it remains incumbent on injury on duty pensioners to do all that is necessary to protect their pension rights – and that usually means firstly standing up to errant Chief Constables, and, where they won’t listen to reason, taking them to court.

Conflict Of Interest
Tagged on:

21 thoughts on “Conflict Of Interest

  • 2019-04-30 at 5:09 pm

    Perhaps conflicted Chief Constables should look to case law for guidance as to how the law relating to injured officers pensions should be adminsitered. They may find that injured officers and their legal advisors have an excellent history of winning challenges regarding maladministration by those Chief Constables who look for loop holes to try to save money at the cost of those injured on the front line.

    I always thought that bringing a police service into disrepute was a serious disciplinary offence, maybe Chief Constables who lose court cases regarding maladministration of public money and as a result cause far more public money to be lost in legal fees, should have their pension entitlement slashed, the same way that they attempt to slash those of former employees.

  • 2019-04-25 at 1:54 pm

    A number of chief officers have publicly said that a priority is the protection of the vulnerable in society. A very laudable aim and a nice mission statement or sound bite. It is however somewhat disingenuous when one considers the appalling treatment of their own vulnerable IODP’s. Those chief officers involved, together with those who do their bidding, should hang their heads in shame. If it is indeed the PCC’s pulling the levers then I consider it a grotesque abuse of their powers.

  • 2019-04-25 at 1:47 am

    Conflict of interest is a very good term to use here. I wonder if ALL currently serving police officers were aware of how politics, financial budgets, and the opinions of those in charge have now become a vital consideration as to the amount of pension they will be paid if their life was destroyed by an injury on duty, and how they would be dealt with by the Force that they have respected throughout their service, how many would actually take that risk and remain.serving?
    The maladministration and unlawful practices involved in how the PPA deal with police IOD pensions these days is overwhelming and needs to be dealt with at a very high level as soon as possible. Meanwhile ,we retired IOD pensioners will continue the fight with the help of

  • 2019-04-24 at 10:05 pm

    A conflict of interest is something that we all encounter from time to time. I doubt that there is a single police officer who has not had to deal with that on many occasions.
    It’s a test of your integrity and moral fibre, one for which that you may well be called to account for later on. The test is not to waver from your duty, your oath of office and the law that have sworn to uphold.
    That is act with integrity, honesty and a resolve and desire to do the right thing. All police officers and good people should recognize that without the need of further explanation.
    So how is it that certain Chief Constables in their position as their Police Pension Authority seem unable to follow the Police Injury Regulations but concoct their own unlawful demands on disabled former police officers in order to reduce the injury award budget ? .
    The result is that they are being taken to court by disabled pensioners and then ordered by the courts to comply with the law.
    Complying with the law is what Chief Constables should do, as all good people do as a matter of course. What is really disturbing is that loosing cases in court does not stop certain Chief Constables from inventing new methods in an attempt to continue to circumvent the Regulations.
    Simply put they are clearly unable to meet the demands of their office and act within the law.

  • 2019-04-24 at 9:49 pm

    Police and Crime Commissioners are political puppets. They all have their pet hates, whether it be women being battered, cars being stolen or houses being burgled. These pet hates are in turn put across to Chief Constables who must then plan their policing policy accordingly. The dirty words none of them like to talk about is “Injury on Duty Awards” Whilst they don’t like to mention them in public they are likely happy to talk about making savings to their budgets by reducing as many IOD’s to a band one as possible. (Without letting on that is the plan) Unfortunately sometimes they forget that a paper trail will lead to the plan being uncovered by IODPA and IOD’s and that is what is happening in Northumbria. Their Director of People drew up a plan to save money by reducing IOD’s awards over a three year period as reported on these pages. Difficult for them to then say it’s not about savings it’s about our statutory duty, when you have put the plan in writing.

    Having a conflict of interests is what jump started their “Savings Plan” into action, and until the PPA are independently appointed and the P&CC gotten rid of this conflict of interests will thrive, widen, and embroil it’s own staff in personal conflicts of interest which will not stay hidden. Then the muck will hit the fan. REMEMBER: IF IT’S NOT IN THE REGS – DON’T DO IT…..

  • 2019-04-24 at 7:48 pm

    Interesting breakdown of putting the facts of the problem into an easy to understand supplement – it is nicely written. As said above the interpretation of the regulations is a major fall down point as some forces deal with it honestly and fairly others totally the opposite in the application.

  • 2019-04-24 at 6:40 pm

    The PPA should know their role and should remember that they are liable for any mistakes, bullying, lies and deceit. So why do they so often delegate iod issues to heads of HR and heads of finance and then let those delegated do what they like. In circumstances like this I do not believe that Chief Constable/PPA keep a close eye on what the delegated person does as there are so many cases of bullying and the like.
    Maybe if on CC gets taken to court over the way that IOD’s are treated then it might send a message out to those other CC’s that just sit back and let the HR idiots run the show.
    IODPA has from the outset tried to educate PPA’s in the correct way to treat IOD’s and some have stared to take note. Unfortunately some are still like rouge operatives and go about causing damage and distress to injured officers who just want to be respected and treated fairly.

  • 2019-04-24 at 6:19 pm

    I never understood the decision to introduce the post of PCC. The old Police Authorities appeared to be functioning perfectly well and I don’t remember a great public demand for Police Commissioners. They are voted in usually on very low turnouts no doubt because most people don’t understand (much less care about) the role, and the candidates were mostly previously unheard of. In terms of IOD pensions, the majority have apparently gone with the status quo but some, as we know have, and are attempting to bear down on costs by attacking the pensions of injured former officers. For anyone not convinced of this, they need only to google the letter written by Avon and Somerset PCC Sue Mountstevens to former Police Minister Damien Green back in August 2013. It clearly shows the wrong headed thinking of certain individuals who believe it is ok to try and get around the Regulations and associated case law for no other reason than trying to save money. Even if the PPA wishes to stick to the spirit and letter of the regs (which the Chief Constable of Staffordshire clearly doesn’t) he or she is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Meanwhile, the office of PCC in each force area continues to gobble up hundreds of thousands of Pounds each year trying to justify their existence

  • 2019-04-24 at 5:02 pm

    A well written blog (as usual may I say) outlining the salient points. It is quite apparent to myself that the Regs are being disregarded by a certain Chief Constable in order to reduce the cost of paying these injured former officers there rightful pension. The only reason this can be is to reduce the police budget as the IOD’s are seen as an easy target.

    One day he will wake up and realise that the Regs are there for a purpose. That is to ensure that the injured former officers are looked after correctly. The payment of there injury pensions may be an easy target, a thorn in the side of the CC/PPA (the same person) but it is a fact of law that these people have to be looked after correctly, in accordance with the law of the land, not the law of the CC/PPA. The cost to the force of initiating the unlawful reviews and subsequent legal actions taken against these injured former officers adds up considerably and does nothing for the good name of the force.

    Until the PPA is either completely independent from the police force or the CC has the guts to apply the Regs in a lawful manner then this debacle which has and continues to have a detrimental effect on the health of the individuals concerned ( and their families) will continue.

  • 2019-04-24 at 3:04 pm

    Trusting pensions to a Chief Constable as PPA is like trusting a hungry dog to guard your dinner, you know sooner or later the greedy sod is going to take a huge chunk out of it. The important job of PPA should be left to some entirely neutral individual or group. Chiefs cannot, and should not wear two hats, it never works.

  • 2019-04-24 at 12:38 pm

    Conflict of interest is ALWAYS a huge concern in any situation. The one suffered by Chief Constables as described in this article is a worrying one and the solution would be to put the responsibility into the hands of some “body” that will not suffer from such a conflict.

    I believe that there is an equally worrying “conflict of interest” present within the PFEW if I am right in my belief that high ranking police officers (maybe even CCs) sit on their board. The conflict lies in their involvement in decisions by the PFEW as to which applications to fund financially from IOD officers who wish to challenge IOD pension review decisions and other IOD pension related challenges.

    The conflict lies in the fact that funding such challenges, which to date have been largely successful, may result in THEIR OWN police authority having to pay out considerable amounts of money. By voting to refuse to provide PFEW funding to certain IOD pension challenges could save their own police authority, or indeed any police authority, a great deal of money.

    Clearly, a HUGE conflict of interest does exist if I am right in my belief. However, I do not know for certain. Perhaps someone “in the know” could inform us and I retract and apologise for this statement should I be wrong.

  • 2019-04-24 at 11:54 am

    It is about time that the entire issue of injury benefits and iod retirement was taken out of the hands of the police and pension authority and given to an completely independent authority who stand to make or loose nothing on their decisions and therefore be entirely unbiased and fair.

  • 2019-04-24 at 10:26 am

    The abuse of the Injury on Duty pensions has been going on for many years and has now alienated once loyal former officers to their former forces because of the appalling ways that they have been treated. This treatment has caused many of those officers to be now suffering from other medical issues on top of the injuries for which they were retired from the police. However these officers have now come together and are beginning to expose the mistreatment that has been handed out and also the maladministration of their pensions.
    Hopefully soon these matters will come before courts and the people responsible will finally have to face the music and account for themselves. It is not just the Cheifs or PPAs but also their staff and others outside of the poilce who have been responsible for these misdemeanours. You can run and hide but fear not we will find you and you will face the music.
    You have treated us all appallingly and you will answer for it.

  • 2019-04-24 at 8:32 am

    South yorkshire police are openly blocking injured officers from accessing an injury pension by retaining them in “new” roles. These new roles are basically retitled admin jobs, that have no future. What makes this worse is that the local federation are doing very little to challenge this practice. In fact, i was told when i was retained, that there was no way that i could challenge the chief constables decision as he had a duty to retain disabled officers where possible. I refused to agree with the federations view and lodged a complaint with ACAS and at the same time, served the same complaint papers on the federation making a formal request for legal support.
    I had to literally fight my way out of the job with no support until the very end. My fed rep had dumped me because he couldnt take the pressure and The equality lead for syp fed, just maintained the view that i would have to engage with syp through the process and that i didnt have a legal challenge.
    As you can imagine, i left, having been stripped of my dignity and feeling nothing but bitter about the way i was treated by syp, and unfortunately, the fed.
    Because of the poor response from the fed, i had missed the opportunity to challenge the chiefs decision by judicial review, as they had told from me the moment i was retained that there wasn’t any way to challenge his decision.
    I eventually won the court case, although this was focused on reasonable adjustments and not on challenging the chiefs decision to retain.
    The national fed gave me the legal support needed to do this.

  • 2019-04-24 at 6:45 am

    I just love the analogy to ‘puppet on a string’. Just about sums up CC Gareth Morgan.
    However, I think he would be far better suited to a Punch & Judy show…because he,is certainly going to get ‘beaten in Court.
    See you there !

  • 2019-04-23 at 11:23 pm

    More often than not, a PPA is merely a puppet, whose strings are pulled by a Police & Crime Commissioner, or even a Police & Crime and Fire Commisioner, as is the case in Staffordshire.

    The mere fact that these people, (who are often elected by only a fraction of the local population), are political appointments, then destroys the unique democracy that used to be there under the old Police Authorities.

    Back then, an Authority was a mix of people, both political Councillors and independent magistrates, so it was not easy for any particular extreme viewpoint, or party, to become dominant.

    Now all that power is in the hands of one person, so as predicted by many, the personal politics of that person, plus the common desire to ‘climb the greasy pole’ to higher levels, dreaming even to becoming MP’s, is clear.

    Not only that, but the old Authorities managed the budgets better, whereas now, these ‘bloated by their own power’ wannabe politicians, have expanded their offices and staff budgets immensely.
    Most now cost £000,000’s, with believe it or not, Staffordshire again being the most expensive!

    These practically unelected Tsar’s seem to spend money whereever political advantage is greatest, or even in the case of Lichfield, where an MP ‘ship’ might soon arise, if the incumbent is booted to the Lords.

    Most of our Police Stations are closed, our services and staff vastly reduced, except of course, in the Commissioner’s ‘Faulty Tower’.

    So, with a puppet Chief Constable being told the budget he will have to work with and then given a target saving of maybe £10 million, (most of which is expected to come from the most vulnerable area, Injury on Duty Pensioners), who (they hope), will still have the loyalty, (but not the knowledge, of what’s really going on).

    Luckily, Staffs IOD Pensioners are a plucky lot, well trained whilst in the job they loved & able to use those skills now, to organise and communicate with each other, greatly helped by the charity IODPA and its experienced legal teams..

    These brave pensioners have stood up to unbelievable discrimination, bullying and threats, to become a very strong united group.

    The PPA, note not the P&CC, or PC&FC, will be the one appearing at Court, the one attempting to justify his actions, just as the ‘puppetmaster’ P&CC planned. The P&CC won’t, (he hopes), as his two terms will soon be up, plus (as he’s kept his nose clean, for his masters in Westminster), he will be off to a Constituency, no doubt near a Cathedral with three spires!

    I’m sure the Staffs PPA knows this and will no doubt have his own ‘escape plan’ in readiness. The minions who are carrying out the dirty work, (well those that are left), probably less so, but they should note that it will take more than a change of role, or title, to hide from what is coming at them.

    Yes, the current system of CC/PPA, with a P&CC, is a failure! It’s a corrupt system that needs a complete rethink. However, whilst Parliament continues to allow convicted criminals with ankle tags to remain as MP’s, or even worse, those MP’s who have clearly and dishonestly fiddled their expenses to remain, then there is little hope of that.

    A little bit of Democracy died, the day the old Police Authorities disbanded.

    • 2019-04-24 at 4:36 pm

      It wasn’t just ‘a little bit of democracy that died’. I still shake my head at how the PPA can say ‘come work with us, we have your back’. It’s almost laughable if it wasn’t so serious………..

  • 2019-04-23 at 11:15 pm

    A Chief Constable expects their officers to do their duty and should an officer be injured doing that duty and forced to retire, then there should be a duty of care before, during and after their retirement. These officers didn’t consider budgets before puting their life on the line. They paid significant contributions to a pension scheme that they believed would support them after retirement. To commence a medical review for budget reasons is both unlawful and unethical. A PCC might expect cuts to be made, but can’t surely expect a Chief to act unlawfully to do so? The use of biased financially motivated SMP’s to conduct reviews is also unlawful and unethical. Some Chief Constables manage to act lawfully and ethically to those injured doing their duty. Some retire rather than betray their duty and ethics. I don’t know how the rest live with the needless suffering they are causing?

  • 2019-04-23 at 10:09 pm

    It would seem that the vast and overwhelming majority of PPA’s entirely understand their role as a PPA. In these forces the injury and review process take place within the Regulations
    So why are a minute number of forces taking reviews and initial IOD processes completely outside the Regulations.
    The only answer a normal sensible person could arrive at is two fold. Firstly this is a state sponsored attempt to userp the law of the land (Home Office) by encouraging a particular PPA (Gareth Morgan Staffordshire) to completely disregard the Regulations and make them up as he goes along with a view to getting the High Court to agree with his/their perverted view of the Regulations by way of their attempted defence of a JR brought by and on behalf of those wronged IOD’s.
    The second answer which is that the PPA is actually trying, quite unlawfully, to save money. by unlawfully manipulating the regulations to save money and rob former now disabled officers injured whilst on duty protecting the public and doing the job they loved. Which ever answer is correct and to be fair it’s probably a collection of both it’s time that these errant PPA’s are brought to book. Time will tell but I know which side I would be betting on when these matters get to court.

  • 2019-04-23 at 9:59 pm

    If Chief Constables were able to make decisions on pensions things may be different. Unfortunately it is the Police and crime commissioners who have responsibilities for budgets and the power to employ and dismiss Chief Constables. This has resulted in Chief Constables having no choice but to accept cuts to injured vulnerable pensioners if they did not comply then their job would be on the line.
    Chief Constables have become puppets who wear the uniform whilst the PCCs sit in their offices manipulating figures in order to reach their budgets.

    • 2019-04-25 at 1:18 am

      Whilst I appreciate that a CC could be put under some pressure, maybe the same as the IOD pensioners are having to suffer, one has to remember that they have been police officers themselves for a number of years going through the ranks. All I can say is that if, after serving all those years, a CC CAN be bullied into doing what is unlawful without a big fight and just stating to whoever is doing the bullying that the LAW is WRITTEN in the Injury pension regulations and MUST be adhered to. If they have any credibility of being morally honest and law abiding and remaining independent as far as IOD pensions are concerned. then they should ensure that those regulations are followed to the letter, if they haven’t got the balls to do that then they shouldn’t be in that job!

Comments are closed.