After very little sickness during my service, I became seriously ill through work place events which was exasperated by the lack of support from my line managers and management. Had I received the support that I begged for, I would have ended up completing my service, but my force decided to close ranks and defend their dishonest and inept managers rather then someone that had given exemplary service. We are all just a number!
After three and a half years on half pay, I was assessed by Dr Huw Davies of South Wales Police (now deceased) for an ill-health and an injury pension. He informed me at the start of the consultation that I would not be told of his decision during the appointment, but I think that he quickly released that my mental health was so fragile that I really needed to know.
He was hesitant in making an injury award, and said, “I think the thing that makes my life interesting is the challenge, it doesn’t matter what I come with as an answer today, I know that I’m going to be in court sooner or later, aren’t I? It doesn’t matter which way I go“.
I have subsequently found that the mantra of “he who pays the piper, calls the tune” applies to all SMPs who are regularly refusing or reducing awards to keep their paymasters happy.
He then went on to say “Between you, me and these four walls, I will deny having said it to you; I am a very good liar and better when I am in court, and when I’m adversarial“.
These words, which were recorded by me, were shocking and live with me to this day!
He granted me an injury pension, and said don’t worry about the amount, I’ll work it out for you. I really had no idea what process I was in, how the pension was calculated and what I may receive. I was not in a good place, and I accepted what I was given.
After retiring, I lived an isolated life for a number of years rarely venturing out. Through IODPA I became aware of my rights and in particular I began to understand the piece of legislation that I had received my injury pension under – The Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006.
I made a Subject Access Request to my force, and also to the practice that Dr Davies had created.
My force had destroyed much of my paperwork, no doubt to protect the guilty, but I discovered that someone in the HR department with no medical training or qualifications had calculated the level of my disability and therefore the value of my injury pension! I later found that they had also calculated two other pensions in the same manner.
The paperwork that was returned from the practice that Dr Davies had worked at showed that he took at face value the level of disability suggested by the HR department, and then unlawfully cut it in half (using apportionment). As a result, my injury pension was half of what it should have been, a move undoubtedly done to appease the force.
I sought legal advice through the Federation, and the solicitor they instructed took his fee and told me that I had little chance of getting the decision put right. In fact he actively tried to dissuade me from pursuing the matter.
It wasn’t about the money, but there was an injustice that needed putting right, and so I instructed Ron Thompson and Mark Botham of Haven Solicitors.
My force dragged their feet, and delayed and delayed, but eventually, and almost ten years to the day, another SMP (one of the few trustworthy and honest ones out there) overturned the original decision and my pension was restored in full.
The bastards have taken ten years of my life, but it was IODPA that has now allowed me to start healing.