Chief Constable

Chief Constable Kavanagh of Essex Police responds to IODPA

Chief Constable Kavanagh of Essex Police responds to IODPA

Following the recent announcement of Essex Police to start reviewing injury pensions, and after reviewing documentation sent out by Kevin Kirby, we were sufficiently disturbed to formally write to the Chief Constable, Mr Kavavagh. Here is a copy of the letter that we sent.

 

Letter to Essex CC

 

Here is the reply that Mr Kavanagh provided.

 

CC Kavanagh Reply

 

We are grateful to Mr Cananagh for taking the time to reply, but still feel as though there are lot of unanswered questions.

The only way is not Essex

The only way is not Essex

What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.
 Cool Hand Luke (1967)

It seems there has been a rush of blood to the heads of certain people in the higher echelons of Essex Police. For reasons as yet unknown to the Police Pension Authority, which is an office vested in none other than the sole personage of the Chief Constable, Steven Kavanagh (pictured), has decided to commence a programme of reviews.


For anyone who has not kept up with ongoing events in the long drawn out and sorry saga of police injury pension maladministration which has blighted the lives of far too many disabled former officers, here is a brief recap.

A ‘review’ is shorthand for what happens when a Police Pension Authority (PPA) exercises a power of discretion conferred on it by Regulation 37 of The Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006. A PPA decides to check whether the degree of disablement of an officer, retired with an injury pension, has altered.

It sounds simple, and it is simple. All a PPA has to do is follow the Regulations and be familiar with the ample case law which provides clarity should explanation be needed. Or, if they fancy a lighter but no less helpful read, HR managers could do no better than study the blogs which IODPA has thoughtfully provided to help educate them.

Yet despite this ready access to information PPAs have consistently managed to muck things up. You would think they were doing it deliberately.

In Essex, it is almost as though everyone who has had a hand in setting up this programme of reviews has been secured in a bubble, kept separate from the rest of the world, so they have no idea whatsoever about recent events.

Events such as the disaster in Avon and Somerset, where much public money was wasted in attempting to hold a review programme, which in our opinion was unlawful.

Events such as the Information Commissioner’s advising that Avon and Somerset and Northumbria had no right to continue to hold excessive historical personal information about retired officers.

Events such as the binding opinion of the Honourable Mr Justice Supperstone in the 2012 case of Simpson v. Northumbria Police Authority and others, where he made it very clear that,

‘The statutory scheme requires an assessment as to whether there has been an alteration in the degree of disablement first. A further quantum decision on the present degree of disablement is only permissible if the police authority, acting by the SMP, have first decided that there is a substantial alteration in the former officer’s degree of disablement.’

So, what is going on in Essex? What has prompted the idea to review batches of injured pensioners? And why has nobody – absolutely nobody – in management had the common sense and nous to look at the regulations and case law to see why their plan is likely to spectacularly fail.

It is indeed a failure to communicate on an epic scale.

More than a failure of communication, it is a failure of awareness, a failure of reason, a failure of professional competence, a failure of decency, a failure of knowledge and a total failure to treat disabled former officers with respect and consideration. There is so much wrong with what Essex is doing that in the space of this blog it won’t be possible to cover all aspects. We can, however, focus on a few elements which demand special attention due to their sheer crassness.

Let’s look at the letter and questionnaire which Kevin Kirby, Head of Pension Governance & Compliance has sent to the first of the injury pensioners who have been selected to undergo a ‘review’. Just who does he think he is, and just who does he think he is talking to?

He writes,

‘We will require a full update on your medical status since your retirement which requires you giving consent for release of your GP records.’

No, you can’t do that Mr Kirby. A review must only determine if there has been any alteration in the specific disabling effect of the recorded duty injury or injuries. One’s ‘medical status’ does not come into it. And neither does the record of a pensioner’s health since retirement.

He writes,

‘Please observe that the pension authority has full powers under the above regulations to undertake this review. It requires openness and transparency concerning your requirement to provide the pension authority with your consent and accurate information.’

Wrong again Mr Kirby. What are you talking about? The PPA has ‘full powers’? What do you think the PPA is – the dictator of some backward country bogged down in the Middle Ages? The only, very limited, power a PPA has, under regulation 37, is to ‘consider whether the degree of the pensioner’s disablement has altered.’ Where is the individual consideration in your sending out of letters and questionnaires to multiple recipients, all of whom are in the highest bands and thus represent the best prospect for the PPA to make reductions?

You can’t have your SMP make any assessment until you have carefully considered, in each individual case, whether a suitable interval has passed which will give good reason for the PPA to think a review is appropriate. You have not done that. Instead, you have gone straight to a process which is obviously intended to allow an unspecified someone to decide whether there has been an alteration in degree of disablement, largely on evidence of employment and earnings.

We do not think you have an inkling what degree of disablement is, or how any alteration is to be determined. Here is a clue for you. It is a medical matter, not a financial matter.

IODPA suspects that pensioners will be all too familiar with the authoritarian tone of a man who thinks he is in a position to order people to do his bidding. Pensioners, however, will know that he has no such authority. He has no power whatsoever to require anything of any private citizen, which is what all former officers are. He can ‘draw attention’ to the police pension regulations as much as he likes but even the most detailed reading of the regulations will not reveal anything which confers on a PPA the power to ‘require’ a single thing from any injury pensioner.

The questionnaire runs to six pages. IODPA will return to this most ill-intentioned document in full later. But for now, be amazed at how misguided the man is who thinks it is his business, his right, to ask you for details of your earnings, and then, astoundingly, requires you to sign consent to let him have HM Revenue hand over all details of your tax position, earnings and employment – since the date you retired.

To bolster up his empty demands for information, Mr Kirby then sees fit to issue what is an all too familiar nasty, and equally empty threat. He provides an Appendix A with his letter in which he seeks to tie his demands for information with a blatant but totally erroneous indication that failure to comply with all of his requirements will result in your pension being dropped to band one.

So, let’s round this up. We know that we are wasting our breath in trying to shock Mr Kirby into realising that he is just so very wrong in so many respects. He will, like all his colleagues across the country who have trodden this rocky road, go automatically into full defensive intransigent position at the first signs of any questioning of his plans. The only thing which will move Mr Kirby is when the PPA and SMP are ‘required’ to attend as respondents in a judicial review. And as sure as eggs are eggs that’s where Mr Kirby is taking his PPA and SMP.

Instead of trying to educate those who are deaf to reason and blind to accurate information, let’s close this by advising all injury on duty pensioners in Essex to file away Mr Kirby’s letter, questionnaire, and Appendix A for future reference. On no account complete the questionnaire. On no account give signed permission for the PPA to obtain medical or financial information.

Chief Constable Morgan’s open letter

Chief Constable Morgan’s open letter

Today Chief Constable Gareth Morgan, the Staffordshire Chief Constable placed an open letter on his website regarding the forces recent Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 reviews under Section 37(1), and the recent resignation of his Selected Medical Practitioner (SMP) – Dr Vivian, who informed us last week that performing the role of a SMP in relation to these reviews had, “been a major burden”.

It was our intention to seek permission to reproduce the open letter here, but as Mr Morgan who is a prolific Twitter user, has previously blocked us, we were unable to ask. The article has been marked as an open letter, and so we will reproduce it here in it’s entirety, and also provide a link to the original so you may read it in all it’s glory.

Open letter

21.12.2017

Pension review of retired Injured on Duty (IoD) officers

On 26 April 2017 Staffordshire Police began a pension review of retired Injured on Duty (IoD) officers in accordance with Reg. 37 (1) of the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 which places a duty upon the Police Pension Authority (the Chief Constable) to review whether the degree of the pensioners’ disablement has altered. Injury Benefit pensions (commonly known as Injury Awards) are granted to retired officers who have been medically assessed as being between Band 1 (slight disablement) to Band 4 (very severe disablement). By law a review cannot result in an injury pensioner being reduced to less than Band 1 so they are never removed in their entirety.

Since this time, and after confirming my intention to continue the reviews after my arrival as Chief Constable, there has been misinformation and misrepresentation of facts in what appears to be an attempt to besmirch the professional reputation of independent medical practitioners and Staffordshire Police. A small number of individuals have set out to campaign against these reviews in a manner which my staff have described as akin to harassment and intimidation – much of it on line and in the public domain.

I have always recognised that these reviews can cause concern and we have committed to expediting the process for that reason. I recognise that everyone is entitled to a view and are allowed to express it. However, the conduct of individuals is such that the independent Senior Medical Practitioner (SMP) no longer wishes to conduct injury assessments for retired officers at this time. The assertion circulating that the SMP left because he was being required to follow the instructions of the force and act unethically is entirely without foundation.

Every care is taken to ensure the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 and related case law are adhered to. I reviewed the process and sought legal and HR advice before confirming my intention to continue the reviews. I am entirely confident that the procedures comply with the regulations and are lawful, both in the way Staffordshire Police conducts itself and in the actions of the SMP.

So far, reviews have commenced for 34 people. To date, 13 have been completed and have reached outcomes, of which four IoD pensioners have had their banding reduced to Band 1. To date, three of these pensioners have stated their intention to appeal as is their right in accordance with the Regulations. Appeals are conducted by the Police Medical Appeal Board, which is independent of Staffordshire Police.

The pension benefit review has not been held in the interests of money saving and no savings are assumed in our forecast budget plans. In fact, the total cost to Staffordshire Police for IoD pensioners amounts to £3 million per annum.

The review is to ensure we are ethical and proportionate in the way that we use public money and to ensure there is a fair and consistent approach to all. The review will ensure that the pensioners continue to receive the appropriate level of award.

I acknowledge we have a duty of care to support IoD pensioners and we are fully committed to providing that support to the most professional of standards. This covers all 360 IoD pensioners we have in Staffordshire. I also have a duty of care to my staff which is why I am writing this letter to iterate that I will not tolerate the treatment they have recently received.

I would ask that everyone reads the information that clearly outlines the review process on our website pages. Appeals, complaints and concerns should be submitted through formal channels and not aired in such a way that discredits the working practices of my colleagues who are simply carrying out their lawful and legal duties.

Gareth Morgan

Chief Constable, Staffordshire Police

21 Dec 2017 17:00:08 GMT

https://www.staffordshire.police.uk/article/8802/Pension-review-of-retired-Injured-on-Duty-IoD-officers

He has stated that reviews are not being conducted to save money.

He has also stated that no-one can be reduced below a band one, despite Staffordshire Police clearly threatening to suspend awards if the IOD does not comply with their demands. (here is the before and after).

What saddens us is the need to blame extremely poorly pensioners for the reason for Dr Vivian to withdraw from the process.

We wonder how the Regulations and case law is being adhered to when we read there are at least three pensioners who are appealing.

Also, what was the end result of the other nine pensioners?

We notice that Mr Morgan has blocked any comments being placed after the article on the Staffordshire Police website, which sort of makes his rant one way. Never mind, we’ll be happy to accept your comments! As always, please make them constructive.

Finally we have to ask, is a “Senior Medical Practitioner”, a SMP who is somehow superior in position or authority to an ordinary “Selected Medical Practitioner”? Answers on a postcard.

Nothing to say, Mr Giffard?

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.

HO Letter to ACPO Giffard

 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.

Giffard to HO

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:

IODPA-G-12-09-17

 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.

ST_IODPA_Injury_Pensions_06_11_2017

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.

Merseyside Chief Responds

Merseyside Chief Responds

“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.

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.

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:
Merseyside CC Iodpa 290817

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northumbria’s Lazarus Syndrome

Northumbria’s Lazarus Syndrome

“Look up here, I’m in heaven
I’ve got scars that can’t be seen
I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen
Everybody knows me now”
― David Bowie

Steve Ashman, Chief Constable of Northumbria police, found himself in the news this week.  He dismissed criticism by the NSPCC  of the decision to pay an informant who is a convicted child rapist to secure a set of child grooming convictions.

Speaking to the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Ashman said: “I accept that some people will not agree with position we have taken, but I have to be content, on the back of the convictions we have secured to date, that it was the right thing to do.”

Our readers understand all too well the the use of informers is a real dilemma … sometimes risks have to be taken and the police have to adopt strategies which at first blush would appear to be awkward and unpleasant. It is a sad fact that any informant who needs to be paid to help the police will be of dubious character, and many will have criminal histories.

It’s newsworthy that the NSPCC – UK’s leading children’s charity feels it wasn’t proportional that a convicted child rapist was paid £9,680 by Northumbria over 21 months to find out about the times and whereabouts of ‘sessions’ where girls were being plied with drugs and alcohol.  The NSPCC are entitled to raise the matter.  We think this is an operational matter for Northumbria to justify. Ashman said the NSPCC had got its facts wrong.

Police had to make a decision and – while unpleasant – if paying a convicted child rapist £10,000 gives the information needed to bring a swift conclusion to another criminal enterprise intent on the sexual abuse and rape of vulnerable children, then it is surely a price worth paying.

There is no nuanced argument, however, that condones how Ashman allows his force, on his watch, to decimate the income of those injured on duty.

That being said, the NSPCC is a victim of the same trite dismissal of a valid concern that is the usual response IODPA has familiarity with when the police defend their actions concerning injury awards. Telling the media the NSPCC has “their facts wrong” is a media soundbite but it helps no-one when concerns are disregarded in this manner.

As with the NSPCC, we in IODPA also are seeking answers from Northumbria.  We would like to know how CC Ashman thinks he can justify the way he is systemically setting about impoverishing severely disabled former officers who are in receipt of an injury pension. The stink rising from Northumbria on this issue is a miasma like that of an untended public toilet.

Police Injury Regs 2006 – a Freedom of Information request to Northumbria Police

Could you please provide the below information regarding the Injury on Duty awards to ex police offices. How many IODs does NP have and please provide a breakdown of each that are in bands 1-4 How Many Reviews have been carried and of what band Whether any were increased.If so by how many bands Whether any Decreased and if so by how many bands Whether any remained the same.

For our readers who aren’t aware of how the amount of injury pension due to officers injured on duty to the extent they can no longer work as a police officer is calculated, there are four bands or levels of payment, each of which covers a range of degree of disablement:  band one covers 0% to 25% (slight disablement); band two more than 25% to 50% (minor); band three is more than 50% to less than 75% (major); band four is the highest band and covers very severe disablement 75% to 100%.

Will Northumbria tell us our facts are wrong?  They can try.  The statistics are theirs.

The amount of pension paid may be revised should an individual experience a substantial improvement, or a substantial worsening, of their degree of disablement. A Chief Constable can conduct a ‘review’ of any individual’s degree of disablement, subject to certain conditions.

In the above Freedom of Information Act request Northumbria police admits to carrying out sixteen reviews from January 2016.

Of the sixteen reviewed, twelve have been decreased.  A shocking 75%.  As horrendous a statistic as this is, it is abhorrent to read that three of those on a band four injury award were reduced to a band one – in other words from the highest degree of disablement to the lowest.  Three other band fours were reduced to a band two and five on a band three were reduced to a band one.

Some context:  Merseyside reviewed 502 by use of quantifying salary only in the enforced compliance of filling out a, now discredited, questionnaire.  Merseyside reduced 25 out of 502 –  5% had their injured award lowered in bands.  Let us remind you that Merseyside had threatened those retired from the force with a review if their salary increased by 10%.  Don’t believe us?  Here is the letter sent by Peter Owens.

So it’s fair to say, as far as the Regulations are administered lawfully, Merseyside fail.  Even still, they only reduced 5% of those reviewed.  Northumbria has reduced 75%

These aren’t just reductions.  This isn’t simply substantial change, an improvement to a person’s degree of disablement that has resulted in a drop of a band – this is wholesale slaughter of the income of those injured on duty.

We can guess that most of the reductions are being made on wrong assumption made by Dr Broome, Northumbria’s SMP, that co-morbidities are competing with the person’s inability to earn. In other words Northumbria is claiming that the presence of one or more additional diseases or disorders co-occurring with (that is, concomitant or concurrent with) the recorded duty injury means a person can go from 100% degree of disablement to zero percent.

Likely as not there has been no change to disabling effects of the duty injury in any of these cases. No change to circumstances of the person regards to the capacity to earn.  Northumbria is reducing people who have been band four or three for many years without change, just because they are carrying out a policy to reduce that is unlawful as well as insultingly aggressive. Chief Constable Ashman tells us that he is concerned about protecting vulnerable young girls whilst he is busily engaged on a programme to destroy the pensions of honest, loyal former officers who had the misfortune to be injured whilst performing their duties.

Many of the injury pensioners are vulnerable too. Forget the image of the rufty-tufty copper and picture instead a shell of a human being, reduced to a life of constant anxiety and plagued with flashbacks, insomnia, depression and all the other symptoms that come with a mind damaged beyond repair by the harsh realities of police work.

If the Regulations called for a reduction to the lowest percentage when a person suffers from Parkinson’s disease or a cancer, then it would explicitly say as such.  Northumbria is raising Home Office circular 46/2004 from the grave.  Instead of automatic reduction at 65 years of age, this time a person is reduced when advancing age equates to advancing illnesses.

Or Northumbria has seen a dozen walking miracles.  Either it is unlawful or what is happening in Northumbria could  called by biblical name: the Lazarus effect, after the story in which Jesus stands outside the tomb of Lazarus of Bethany and summons him back to life.

We have heard anecdotal accounts that the Police Federation in Northumbria will never sign off a C2 funding form to provide much-needed legal aid to any injury pensioner who is facing an unlawful reduction of their injury pension.  We say that any reduction from a band four to a zero percent band one should automatically be heard in front of a police medical appeal board (PMAB).

The matter the NSPCC took up with the media isn’t as black and white and there are intricacies to any payment to an informant that has grey areas.  What Northumbria is doing to medically retired former officers has no such complexity.

Northumbria has a policy that is contrary to law and they must be called to account before the misery spreads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Truth Of It

The Truth Of It

All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us? ~ Reg: Monty Python’s Life of Brian

In a recent Police Oracle news story concerning Merseyside police taking a former officer’s award away because – quite rightly from his position – he said he wouldn’t fill in any ridiculous questionnaire, a representative of Merseyside reportedly said:

“The only issue determined by the judicial review was whether the former officer’s pension payments should have been suspended”

Injured ex-officer sees pension reinstated after legal fight

Solicitors warn other forces about acting in a similar way. A solicitor has warned forces that attempts to make injured retired officers provide more personal information than required by law for reassessments of their pensions will be challenged. Former Merseyside Police officer Paul McHugh issued judicial…

What an example of spin – right out of the text book of Malcolm Tucker in the BBC sitcom The Thick of It. We wonder if Mr/Mrs Merseyside spokesperson asked three straightforward questions of the people who, within Merseyside, took the injury award away from Mr McHugh.

First: are they certifiably insane? That is, are they — as the Americans put it — crazier than a shithouse rat?

Second, if the unlawful removal wasn’t for not filling in the questionnaire as well as not giving full medical records from birth to the z-team HR minions, messrs Peter Owens and Supernintendo Markay, then why did they take the award away?

Did they randomly wake up one morning and arbitrarily select a victim to suspend an award!

And third: do they have anything to gain, financially, from making these assertions? Merseyside saved a lot of money by reducing people by use of this questionnaire and by not using a SMP.  All these people have grounds to demand a reconsideration.

Our guess is that none of those questions have been asked. And they have not been asked because those are not the sort of question a spokesperson working for the police is allowed to ask any more. Such a poor excuse for a glib individual must take everything at face value these days. They must not exercise their judgement — or, as we would put it, the truth…

Never mind that a sworn officer of the law at a rank of senior manager at executive level with a position to set strategy, standards and policy across a department or organisation, did something so illegal that Supernintendo Markay and Peter Owens couldn’t persuade Merseyside to defend it in the high court, and then got a spokesperson to say the judicial review wasn’t about what it was actually about to save their careers.

Quite worrying isn’t it when the upholders of the law revert to spin to cover up a major wrong?

IODPA hates it when people don’t come clean.  When they don’t mention what is staring them in the face.  When the truth is hidden.

Speaking of spin.  The Internet is such a clever thing.

We’ve found the six year old draft change to the Police Injury Benefit Regulations sat on a virtual shelf gathering dust.  This never became law and was first put forward in 2011.  All of the proposals were dropped and there are interesting conversations between the staff side and the Home Office between what should stand and what should go.  Mostly the Federation was for the proposals.  We might talk about these cosy chats in another blog.

Anyway, here it is:

Item6A,AnnexA

Regulation 33 (failure to attend a medical examination) of the 2006 Regulations becomes Regulation 32 in this proposal.

Remember, all these proposals were dropped.  But the content of this new Regulation 32 is telling:

32.—(1) This regulation applies where a relevant medical question is referred to a medical
authority under regulation 29, 30 or 31 and the person concerned wilfully or negligently fails to—
(a) submit himself to a medical examination;
(b) attend an interview; or
(c) consent to the disclosure of medical records
which the medical authority considers necessary in order to enable him to make his decision.

The real, current and active Regulation 33 makes no reference at all to medical records.  But the proposal makes an explicit reference to it.  In other words the current Regulations do not do what they want it to do.  So they wanted it changed.  They failed.

If this is not an admission that the production of medical records is not required under the current Regs, we don’t know what is.

And why was the 2011 proposed change to the Regulations dropped?  Probably because there is a provision in law that means such sweeping changes could not be applied retrospectively, and that rather defeated their point.

What the debacle of the questionnaire reveals is the untruths that underpin what certain individuals in police forces tell those who are medically retired to get them to acquiesce to unlawful demands.  The HR minion tells a porky; the head of legal services finds a clever lawyer-trick to skirt a way around a “problem”; the chief constable says all is well and right in a world of right and wellness; and the PCC says the chief is the best thing since sliced bread.  The IPCC says any such complaint is nothing to do with them and the cycle circulates infinitely.

The language of those who administer injury awards is therefore a truly transformative grammar.   There are words which, when uttered by a such a person, lose all sense of themselves — such as ‘duty’ and ‘must’ and ‘shall’.

It is not simply that these words can mean different things to different people — it is that when these people such as supernintendo Markay, Owens and Andrew Colley use them they are at best an euphemism and at worst a downright lie.

And from that you have to draw the conclusion that their whole injury award edifice is built upon a perpetually shifting succession of imaginative falsehoods.

If IODPA is unable to do anything else, our readers can be assured we will always speak the truth and like Ockham’s razor, cut through the crazy, complicated  spin and constructions spouted by those who should know better.

 

 

 

Chief Morgan’s Conundrum

Chief Morgan’s Conundrum

“A sum can be put right: but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never by simply going on.”
C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

Gareth Morgan, the newly appointed Chief Constable of Staffordshire, who takes up his post on the 19th June, has a problem.

During his tenure as Deputy Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Police he will have become well aware that maladministration of police injury pensions leads inevitably to increased costs, litigation and disaffection amongst serving officers. Gareth witnessed how attempts to subvert, twist, or bypass the Regulations governing injury pensions achieved nothing more than the transfer of large amounts of ratepayers’ money into the pockets of a certain Dr Phillip Johnson.

This less than eminent medical practitioner, was paid to carry out reviews on the degree of disablement of former officers who are in receipt of injury pensions. In over three years and forty-six billed days he managed only six for which he was paid £146,000 Avon and Somerset Police Pension Authority (PPA) , which is none other than the single personage of the current Chief Constable, has been forced to make a humiliating u-turn and has announced that the planned mass review programme is abandoned.

The force has no will to attempt any further reviews. So, when Gareth becomes the PPA in Staffordshire, what will he make of that force’s plans to hold a similar programme of mass reviews? He can’t claim he is not very well aware of the issues, for in November 2013, the College of Policing started a scoping review of forces’ management of Police Medical Appeal Boards (PMAB). Gareth agreed to act as the Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) for the exercise. Tellingly it was then Chief Constable Mike Cunningham of Staffordshire Police, in his capacity as the Workforce Development Business Area Lead, who for reasons unknown, requested this commission.

The College of Policing soon increased the scope of the review from the original issue of PMABs to the management of police officer ill health retirements and injury on duty assessments, as these areas form the basis of any appeal to a PMAB. And the conclusions Morgan’s College-backed enquiry came to? Given pride of place was the startling figure that appeals against the mistakes made by HR managers and SMPs had cost forces some £4.3 million pounds since 2008. The enquiry revealed that the ill health retirement process is in chaos, with poorly trained personnel performing functions they don’t understand, regularly failing police officers.

It is recognised that these processes are complex and expensive to the force and potentially led to a disservice of officers who have been injured in the line of duty.

Morgan also accepts there have been a number of occasions in recent years when the established practice of police forces, supported by the Home Office, in interpreting the meaning of the 2006 Regulations, has been found to be inconsistent with the true wording of the Regulations!

6 At the time of writing, very few forces are currently engaged in performing
reviews of previous IoD decisions, many having not done so since the Home
Office correspondence in 10 March 2010 following critical case law. The issues
relating to the appropriateness of conducting reviews notwithstanding, the
decision not to review has resulted in a significant degradation of the skill level of those staff members who had previous experience of this work. Many of whom, as a result of ongoing financial cuts to relevant departments, are no longer working for the police service.

The ‘Home Office correspondence’ referred to was a letter from the HO advising that all forces cease reviews, pending a seminal judicial review upcoming in the Administrative Court. That case concerned a former Met officer, Belinda Laws. She won her case. The reviews then being conducted in some forces were unlawful as they were based on the infamous guidance issued by the Home Office in Annex C to its circular 46/2004.

The Home Office later suffered a hammer blow when it had to concede the guidance was unlawful and withdrew it. The Home Office gave a clear indication in a later judicial review case that it was unlikely to want to issue any revised guidance, or indeed, any further guidance whatever concerning injury awards and ill health retirement processes.

Peter Spreadbury, then Head of the Police Pensions and Retirement Policy Section within the Home Office gave a witness statement in the case of Simpson held at Leeds High Court in February 2012. He stated,

‘Should it appear that repeated legal challenges and uncertainty are likely to continue in this area, one possible option is the withdrawal of the relevant guidance and the abandonment of any attempt to give central guidance on the topic.’

Well, legal challenges have continued apace, and uncertainty within HR departments has increased, and the Home Office has withdraw its guidance, and it remains sensibly silent on all matters concerning injury pensions. The ball is firmly in the court of each PPA. They can expect no overt help from the Home Office, though we know that august Department of State sends a representative to meetings of the National Welfare and Engagement Forum. We believe this is more to keep an eye on the rampant idiocy which is displayed there than to try to advise more unlawful attempts to subvert the Regulations.

It is reasonable to assume then that Gareth Morgan is more acquainted than most Chief Officers with the institutional failures of HR departments to properly administer the police injury benefit Regulations.

Gareth also knows first hand of the most vile abuse foisted on vulnerable disabled officers, for it was in Avon and Somerset that the now deceased Dr Reginald Bunting was allowed free rein to practice his sexual perversions on officers and former officers who he was called upon to examine.

Speaking about Operation Hay which investigated the historical abuse he went on record as saying:

“Anyone requiring a police medical examination held on police premises by a police doctor should have had an expectation of being safe. It is clear that the conduct of some of these medical examinations fell well below this standard.~Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Morgan

Wishful thinking on Gareth’s part, for the day after Avon & Somerset decided enough was enough in their abuse of those injured on duty, the Bristol Post reported that more victims have come forward:

Investigation into pervert doctor continue as more victims come forward

The police investigation into a pervert Bristol doctor is being continued as more potential victims have come forward. Dr Reginald Bunting was said to have been ‘inappropriate’ towards 52 police recruits and staff while he worked for Avon and Somerset Constabulary. Investigations into the doctor’s behaviour and complaints made about him ended this year after a two-year probe.

So, Gareth Morgan’s problem as he takes up his new post is this: he now has a choice to make. Does his follow the lead of his former boss in Avon and Somerset, Chief Constable Andy Marsh and halt the reviews, or does he continue to zealously pursue Staffordshire’s review program as if nothing has happened?

Will we see Morgan fall back on repeating the tired and empty mantra in respect of reviews where various administrators have falsely claimed the Regulations say they “shall“ conduct reviews, or that they are “obliged to review“ as they have “a positive duty” to review? Will Morgan chose to ignore the looming disaster that Staffordshire’s proposed mass review programme will bring? Will he chose to ignore all the evidence which proves most, if not all, forces are utterly incapable of administering police injury pensions within the law?

To add to his problem he has to take ownership of the ill-judged and illegal Staffordshire 2008 “agreement“ which favoured certain IOD pensioners at the expense of others. He will have a tangled mess to attempt unravelling now that Staffordshire’s IOD pensioners have realised the agreement was not worth the paper it was written on. Staffordshire will have to deal with that before it could even contemplate holding any reviews – unless of course Gareth has the stomach for a costly round of appeals and trips to the Administrative Court.

We hope that new Chief Constable Gareth Morgan will look back on his time with Avon and Somerset and reflect on the sour sans-apology June 12th letter to all IOD pensioners from Julian Kern on behalf of Avon & Somerset Police Pension Authority cancelling what he called the “automatic reviews“.

Of course the term “automatic review” is an euphemism for holding reviews only for the purpose of discovering whether there has been substantial alteration in degree of disablement, without any pre-consideration as to whether the degree of the pensioners disablement has altered. This, as regular readers of these blogs will know, is not a lawful process. A review held without first deciding there has been a suitable interval since the previous decision on degree of disablement is unlawful. A review held without any individual consideration of individual circumstances is unlawful. A review held with a view to saving money is unlawful.

The Regulations prohibit anything which might be called an ‘automatic review’. The fact that Kern used this phrase, in what we sincerely hope will be the last letter he is allowed to pen for Avon and Somerset Police Pension Authority, sums up all we need to know about the sheer incompetence of the man. He knows nothing about the Regulations.

We will touch in later blogs about Kern’s reference to suspension of reviews pending future legislation or Home Office guidance but suffice to say IODPA is confident there will be no retrospective legislation, nor will the Home Office ever offer any more central guidance.

Avon and Somerset’s climb-down suspension of all reviews sends a strong signal to Staffordshire, and the other few forces which are still mistakenly in thrall to the idea that reviews can save them money. It also tells anyone who cares to listen that the hugely ignorant and dangerous guidance issued by Nicholas Wirz via the the National Wellbeing and Engagement Forum is a poisoned chalice.

IODPA wishes Mr Morgan well in his new role in Staffordshire. We hope that once he is his own boss, free of the shackles of being merely the number two he was in Avon and Somerset, that he will make some sensible decisions and not only halt the proposed mass review programme, but set about clearing up the historic mess that is the administration of police injury pensions in that area.

Everlasting Anxiety

Everlasting Anxiety

Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.”
Anaïs Nin

It seems that those who oversee the administration of injury awards in Staffordshire Police have rather a special collection of ineptness.  Quite a feat to combine the malevolence of Northumbria with the idiocy of Avon & Somerset.

For a force that officially signed a contract and abandoned reviews in 2008, the errors and illegalities in the letter they have sent out to all those retired with an injury award is exceedingly far beyond any, even the twisted mind, could conjure up.

We’ve published the missive in full at the end of this post.

Rather than pointing out the obvious conflict this letter has with the Regulations and case law – such as the invented duty that the 2015 Police Pension Regulations* forces them to do this (!)  and the continual use of the word “reassessment“, today we are going to talk about this paragraph:

This letter is just to inform you of the reassessment programme. Whilst I acknowledge this may cause you some anxiety, I regret that at this point in time I am unable to enter into correspondence with you about your personal circumstances. You will be written to again directly in due course when your injury pension comes up for review. The process is expected to take at least eighteen months, so it may be some time before you are written to again about this.

*(Very naughty Staffordshire!  A blatant lie!  In fact these Regulations has no implications on injury awards as they only refer to the Career Average Revalued Earnings Scheme (CARE) scheme and the lower/enhanced tier only applicable to those retired on this 2015 pension scheme – the PIBR 2006 Regulations are the only regulations that concern injury on duty awards)

Wow!  Sending an unsolicited letter, that they know (or don’t care perhaps out of complete indifference) will cause or manifest an existing diagnosis of a mental health illness, to a cohort of disabled individuals – some with severe PTSD, all with a protected characteristic under the Equality Act – and then sign-off by saying that they will happily prolong the assault for up to 18 months….

Just Wow!… What cave has Staffordshire been living in for the past five years?

The Department of Work and Pensions received a drubbing in the Court of Appeal back in 2013.  Court judges upheld a decision that the ATOS assessments for sickness and disability benefits discriminate against people with mental health conditions.  This followed an earlier decision by the Upper Tribunal that the Work Capability Assessment – the notorious computer based test which has led to hundreds of thousands of claimants declared ‘fit for work’ – substantially disadvantaged those with mental health problems.

The Appeal Court said:

Tribunal was satisfied that the difficulties faced by [mental health patients] placed them at a substantial disadvantage when compared with other disabled persons who do not experience mental health problems

The judges found that:

  1. In my judgment, therefore, the Tribunal properly identified relevant disadvantages in this case as potentially relating both to the actual determination or outcome itself, and to the process leading up to it.

So to speak the obvious; who has Staffordshire seen fit to sent a mass mailing list to, warning the recipient that they will spend the next 18 months in purgatory whilst knowing full well that what they intend to do will cause them harm?

Rhetorical answer: Only to members of the public with both physical and mental illness, who are permanently disabled  and who are proportionally certain to have many of the mental health disorders that are caused by a combination of factors, including changes in the brain and environmental stress.

Bizarrely this was sent out to even the people they have unilaterally decided not to review such as those band ones and those over 72.

Even those with a terminal illness recieved this letter. Whilst it’s excellent that they won’t be further victimised whilst end of life, but why stress them with irrelevance? – an example why mass mailshots to those with a protected characteristic without due public sector equality duty compliance is unlawful.

Though we are experienced in the dark-arts of those who administer injury awards, IODPA is still perpetually amazed that some police forces think those that get injured and permanently disabled on duty have no rights.

Avon & Somersent DCC Gareth Morgan may be thinking that becoming this force’s chief may not be a wise career move after all!

injury review intent 20042017_Redacted
injury review intent 20042017_Redacted 2

 

 

 

 

 

Defending the Indefensible

Defending the Indefensible

During the festive period we didn’t waste valuable Quality-Street-eating or telly-gazing time.  Our investigative columnist was simultaneously scoffing chocolates and watching Dr Who whilst trawling our archives.

We’ve dusted off a letter from Julie Spence, the former Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire.  As a Chief Constable she made the extraordinary claim was that the guidance in Home Office Circular 46/2004 was mandatory – that she had no choice but to reduce those over 65 years of age to the lowest award and zero percent disability because:

that it is not our job to pick and choose the regulations that we will apply and the ones we will ignore

In a letter written to the local NARPO magazine, Spence was attempting to justify her position, allegedly based on ‘legal advice’ she impudently claims, that the Home Office Guidance that said those over 65 years of age have no capacity to earn was compulsory and it is a cruel irony of life that people are complaining given she is just doing the good the work of restoring order from chaos.  Apparently.

Here’s the full letter.  Also you can find the text of the letter at the bottom of the post.

PAS0062

Nowadays Notts, Merseyside, Avon & Somerset and Northumbria are currently all following the rule of Spence.  Argue black is white and claim what they force upon disabled former and serving officers is mandatory.  When it clearly is no such thing.

You might care to bear in mind that Julie Spence has a law degree, which would lead one to presume she should have known full well the true status of Home Office guidance, and if she was in any doubt about the status of HO guidance she had a telephone on her desk which she could have used to call the HO for clarification.

Instead she decided to follow the same nonsense spouted by force solicitors such as Northumbria’s Nicholas “all SMP’s are judges” Wirz and Avon & Somerset’s Daniel “we can only imply threats to suspend awards” Johnson.

In March 2010 she announced her retirement following repeated challenges over her claim and a matter of days after the Home Office advised all forces to suspend reviews – a clear signal of admission that the guidance she insisted was ‘mandatory’ was in fact unlawful.

The unlawfulness of the guidance and the primacy of Regulations was reaffirmed in the Ayres Pension Ombudsman decision, and the judicial reviews of Crudace, Simpson and the consent order made in Slater.

So the next time some HR Director says they have ‘taken legal advice’, just remember, as far as the quality of the advice goes, they would’ve been better off talking to the coffee machine.

letter from our Chief Constable:  

Dear Mr MaCallum  Congratulations your new role as Chair- man of Cambridgeshire NARPO.

I am sorry that my first letter to you as Chairman is one in which I feel I  express my disappointment.

I read with some surprise David Blake’s  goodbye message contained in the April  NARPO newsletter, and the criticism of me  that I “remain intransigent”. I am concerned  that this gives your members totally the  wrong impression.

If by this it meant that I am bound by  statute, regulations or mandatory Home  Office guidance on the issue of the payments of injury awards, then I am.

If it means that I Will not tax-payers  money where I do not have the authority to  do then I agree.  

If it means that I Will listen , that I am  not prepared to explore avenues that others  have progressed, or that I do not appreciate  or understand all view points on this issue  then I reject the criticism.  

As Police Officers each one of your  members understands, or should under-  stand, that it is not our job to pick and  choose the regulations that we will apply  and the ones we will ignore.  

Sometimes we have to make tough choices  about the action we take. As a public  service, this is what is expected.

NARPO have asked me to look at options  that other forces have used, and I have done  that. I have sought legal advice to explore  the extent of duty and authority that exists.  Further 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.  

I do not call this call this intransigence.  I call this living with reality. It is a reality that should  have been gripped several years ago and the  fact that it was not is yet another symptom  Of the fact that Cambridgeshire for  many years a failing Force.  

It is One Of life’s cruel ironies that we turn  on individuals who try their best to restore  normal good performance. In fact NARPO  would be better directing their criticism to  those who were part of the system that  allowed that dreadful mess to be created in  the first place.  

I also need to let you know that despite what been written, every officer who  retires from Cambridgeshire Constabulary  may have a meeting with me. Many people  take up this opportunity, a small number  choose not to – that is their choice. If in the  future you want to check what the current  policy in the force is, please feel free to  phone my office and my staff will endeavour to provide all the help you need.  

We need to work together and have an  dialogue, even over the tough times, where  we have to agree to disagree. said, I  truly do forward to supporting  NARPO and would be grateful if you could  rectify any misunderstandings your  members may currently have about the  force. If it would help please print this  letter in any upcoming newsletter.  

Julie Spence OBE Bed LLB MA MBA  Chief Constable

 

This group of police force HR managers, occupational health personnel and the odd force solicitor is supposedly concerned in its quarterly meetings with keeping the police workforce fit and well. The clue is in the name - it is supposed to concentrate on people who work. However, it spends time also considering matters relating to disabled former officers. Quite what legitimates this group's interest in disabled private citizens who are in receipt of a police injury pension is a mystery.

The mystery deepens when it is revealed that the Home Office and representatives of the commercial company which has the contract to run Police Medical Appeal Boards, HML, also regularly appear on the list of delegates. The mystery morphs into something smelling of conspiracy when the delegate list is entirely absent of any representative of any of the people whose lives the NAMF seeks to affect. There is nobody from the Police Federation, nor from NARPO, nor anyone from any disablement charity, mental health association, etc. etc. In other words, the NAMF is a one-sided talking shop. Even at that level it is not properly representative of all police forces, for we note that there are rarely, if ever, delegates present from every area.

Those of us with long memories, recollect that the Home Office claimed that it had conducted what it called a 'survey' of all forces, way back in 2004, prior to finalising its unlawful guidance issued as Annex C to HO circular 46/2004. The HO claimed that their survey showed that it was common practice for forces to review the degree of disablement of injury-on-duty pensioners once they reached what would have been normal force retirement age. This is what the guidance said:

'This Guidance is being issued to help ensure a fairer, more cohesive approach to the payment of injury benefits to ill-health retired officers who have reached the compulsory retirement age with their Force. A recent survey found that practice in this area was diverse. Some forces automatically reduced degree of disablement benefits to the lowest banding when this age had been reached - others continued to pay benefits at the same rate until the death of the Officer concerned.'

The plain truth, revealed through Freedom of Information Act requests, was that there never was any survey. The HO later tried to claim that the bold, unmistakable claim made in its guidance resulted from 'round the table discussions' at meetings of the NAMF. Yet nothing even hinting at such discussions appeared in the minutes and the HO could not produce a single scrap of data nor any record or any other evidence to show quite how it had come to the conclusion that some forces automatically reduced benefits to the lowest band at what would have been normal force retirement age.

Shockingly, further research revealed that absolutely no forces, not a single one out of the 43 in England and Wales, had ever reduced benefits to the lowest band at what would have been normal force retirement age, automatically or otherwise. The Home Office was caught out in a blatant lie. It was a lie intended for one purpose only - its actually intent was to give an air of normalcy to the huge change in practice which the HO wished to bring about.

This astounding act by a Government department tells us what the NAMF was then, and remains now. It's objective in so far as police injury on duty pensions is concerned, is to subvert the law of the land. The law cannot be changed retrospectively, so the inner circle work to find ways to unlawfully manipulate it through influencing gullible HR managers, and by training carefully selected corruptible SMPs how to refuse grant of an injury award and how to conduct reviews which reduce the degree of disablement of retired officers.

And so the machinations of the NAMF continue...