Now that Summer is slowly grinding to an end and we will soon be reaching the start of Autumn, our thoughts turn to the start of a new charitable year, which commenced on 1st September. IODPA, concludes, in our view, a second successful year.
The IODPA Trustees sincerely hope that our readers have had a good and peaceful summer; it doesn’t seem like two minutes ago that the children were breaking up for the holidays and the weeks lay blissfully ahead.
Normality resumes this week as the children go back to school and although things have been quiet publically, we have continued to be kept busy behind the scenes.
Reviews, on the whole, have quietened down at present. We have two epicentres where the main problems seem to be centred; Northumbria and Staffordshire. As our readers will know, there is a significant judicial review impending for seventeen injured police pensioners from Staffordshire, regarding the production of full medical notes at a review. The varying issues are now heading towards a court hearing so we will not be discussing any more of this case, suffice to say, once we are permitted to report anything in the public forum, we will do so.
We believe that many forces are waiting upon the same aforementioned judicial review before looking at whether or not to commence reviews of their own. We hope that all forces will do their own research rather than be blindly led by others who claim to be the font of all knowledge where Police Injury Benefit Regulations are concerned. There are other ways of doing reviews without causing extreme stress and pain to retired officers, that these two forces think is acceptable. Hopefully, the gentle approach to reviews will become the norm soon, similar to what we believe is happening in Thames Valley.
We will be here, always ready and waiting to support those pensioners who need assistance, should that day come for them. As we have continued to say so many times previously; we have no problem with forces conducting reviews. They have a right to review, should they decide that there has been a ‘suitable interval’. What we ask for, is that those reviews are conducted lawfully, compassionately and abides by all relevant case law and not be just a cynical vehicle for saving money from those who gave so much.
There is also a growing need to support our serving colleagues who have had the misfortune of being injured whilst on duty. These disabled and vulnerable officers have to deal with an adversarial ill health retirement process, more often than not, alone with no support network in place. Often provided with misinformation, or not informed at all of their rights, we are referring more and more of them to legal support in the aim of them receiving a fair and equitable result at a time when many are having to leave the service they love, due to their duty injuries.
Fortunately, officers are now finding us and we are pleased to say that word of mouth regarding IODPA is spreading more and more within police forces around the country. We are assisting these injured officers and signposting where necessary. We are always very grateful for the help that Mark Lake of Taylor Law and Ron Thompson and Mark Botham of Havens Solicitors give to those who need their specialist knowledge.
As our third charitable year commences and we collate all we have achieved to date, we hope that this new year continues to show IODPA as a growing and improving organisation.
As well as hoping the year brings resolution for some of the issues we have faced over the last few years and new opportunities to help our growing membership, we will continue to support all those who need us, as well as those new members who have joined us over the last twelve months. We anticipate our membership growth will continue in this new charity year and as a result, we will be seeking to collaborative with other organisations to further our help and support for all injured officers.
Welfare for those who have served is still very limited and in some cases, non existent, so developing the charity in these areas will also be explored. It is sobering to think that from just a small group of former officers, who came together in one force area, IODPA has grown rapidly to cover the whole of the UK, with a large membership and it underlines the fact that there is still a large number of serving and retired officers who are in need of support.
So, to finish. If anyone knows of a retired officer who maybe in need, or if you are a serving or served officer with an injury sustained on duty, then please contact us.