College of Policing

Contractors, Ethics & the College of Policing

Contractors, Ethics & the College of Policing

“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.”
C.S. Lewis

The administration of injury awards is a racket: given what disabled former police officers have had to suffer at the hands of corrupt doctors acting for police pension authorities, aided and abetted by the astounding ignorance of HR departments, it’s fair to say that’s a given. But unless you’ve had personal experience of the devious workings of those who are responsible for the administration of police injury pensions you probably have no idea just how much of a racket it has become.

If you ever have to deal with Inhuman Resources or any (oh-so-carefully) selected medical practitioner used by them then you know that you get sucked into a system which taints almost everyone it touches with corruption so flagrant it’s hard to believe such a thing could be possible in hyper-regulated modern Britain.

All the current platitudes coming from Parliamentary candidates in the upcoming election and media focus about police numbers is so ignorantly abstract when it really boils down to the realism of what happens to those injured on duty that face the system.

The system is run so that a very small band of favoured occupational health companies provide nearly all the SMP services used by police pension authorities. They have cornered the market, with the active connivance of the NWEF. They get their snouts in the trough, grab as much public money as they can, and leave the patsies in HR to take the flak. Outsourcing is the new game now, with forces handing over what should be their responsibilities to private limited companies whose morals and ethos are moulded entirely around the bottom line of the balance sheet.

Even the police medical appeal boards (PMABs) are outsourced to a limited company, Health Management Limited (HML).

Occupational health doctors who act as SMPs mirror HML and set up their limited companies in dubious, but no doubt tax-efficient, manner.

We see that commercial basis as being the driver which impels some SMPs to revel in creating unjustified appeals, by flagrantly disregarding the Regulations and case law, as a means to further their pay-packet in attendance costs. They know that a PMAB will either side with their crass decisions or make a new one. Either way, this lets the SMP off the hook. If there is a judicial review, it is the PMAB and the police pension authority who appear as respondents. The SMP is left free to continue their abuse of the law and of vulnerable and damaged individuals.

Some of these decidely dodgy SMPs work in tandem with a more malevolent master.  For instance, Dr Jonathan Broome.  He is Northumbria’s resident SMP, and seems to be going for the world-record of mentions in High Court decisions purely because he is unable, or unwilling, to say no to his colleague, the solicitor of Northumbria police, Nicholas Wirz.  Ever eager to push their own twisted and perverse take of the Regulations to judges, the dreadful duo are evidently so cold-hearted they never care about the morality.

But morality matters. Ethics is not just a necessary but inconsequential something which SMPs have sworn to when taking the Hippocratic oath. Some SMPs have abandoned the first ethical principle – to do no harm. For that alone their failures need to be challenged.

But would you believe that there is a “Code of Practice for the Principles and Standards of Professional Behaviour for the Policing Profession of England and Wales” which actually applies to people like Broome or Dr William Cheng, even if they are only a fleeting and temporary SMP gun-for-hire?

Quite by accident, we’ve discovered that the College of Policing’s code of ethics actually stretches itself to cover any person engaged in any work for any police force.  Subcontractors are covered and it matters not if the contract agreement to provide the SMP service is verbal, written in stone, toilet paper, carefully scribed in blood, is on vellum or scribbled on the back of a fag packet.

Here it is:

1.3 Scope of the Code
1.3.3
This includes all those engaged on a permanent,
temporary, full-time, part-time, casual,
consultancy, contracted or voluntary basis.

The code of ethics demands honesty, courtesy, equality, the ability to follow the Police Regulations and confidentiality. Let’s look at the scope and detail, and wonder as we do so just how the likes of Broome, Cheng, Nightingale and others square this code with their behaviour.

Standards of professional behaviour
1. Honesty and integrity I will be honest and act with integrity at all times, and will not compromise or abuse my position.  4 6. Duties and responsibilities I will be diligent in the exercise of my duties and responsibilities.
2. Authority, respect and courtesy I will act with self-control and tolerance, treating members of the public and colleagues with respect and courtesy. I will use my powers and authority lawfully and proportionately, and will respect the rights of all individuals. 7. Confidentiality I will treat information with respect, and access or disclose it only in the proper course of my duties.
 3. Equality and diversity I will act with fairness and impartiality. I will not discriminate unlawfully or unfairly. 8. Fitness for work I will ensure, when on duty or at work, that I am fit to carry out my responsibilities.
4. Use of force I will only use force as part of my role and responsibilities, and only to the extent that it is necessary, proportionate and reasonable in all the circumstances. 9. Conduct I will behave in a manner, whether on or off duty, which does not bring discredit on the police service or undermine public confidence in policing.
5. Orders and instructions I will, as a police officer, give and carry out lawful orders only, and will abide by Police Regulations.I will give reasonable instructions only, and will follow all reasonable instructions. 10. Challenging and reporting improper behaviour I will report, challenge or take action against the conduct of colleagues which has fallen below the standards of professional behaviour

Stop laughing at the back!

If ever the maladministration of injury awards is adapted into a corrupted game of bingo, you could call house immediately in the above top ten of naughtiness.

By all accounts the code of ethics has guidance on what to do when the code is breached.

Behaviour that does not uphold the policing principles or which falls short of the expected standards of professional behaviour set out in this Code of Ethics will be dealt with:
• according to the severity and impact of any actual, suspected or alleged breach • at the most appropriate level • in a timely and proportionate manner in order to maintain confidence in the process.

For the worst offenders the College of Policing states that the most serious allegations amounting to gross misconduct can result in suspension from duty or restriction of duty, and may involve a criminal investigation and criminal proceedings.

The trouble we have here is the age old problem of who is the custodian of the custodians? Who does an aggrieved person report a breach of the code of ethics to?  Of course, you guessed it – the relevant police force or policing organisation you are complaining about. This is such a sick joke, for all Chief Constables are the police pension authority in their own area, so, under the rules of natural justice should not be allowed to decide any matter in which they have a vested interest. Yet they do. And when they do, they of course always, without fail, decide there is no case to answer. Nobody has done anything wrong. Nobody is to blame. Nothing to see here, move along.

If the local professional standards department cuffs away the complaint or calls you vexatious for having the cheek to tell them their own colleagues are dabbling with corruption then it goes to Britain’s police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission or IPCC.

Home Affairs Committee publishes report on the IPCC – News from Parliament

the Commission is overloaded with appeal cases; serious cases involving police corruption or misconduct are left under-investigated, while the Commission devotes resources to less serious complaints; and public trust continues to be undermined by the IPCC’s dependence on former officers and the investigative resources of police forces.

The IPCC has been slated in the influential Parliamentary report that accuses the IPCC of being overloaded with cases, leaving cases un-investigated, of having no real power and of too often using former policemen as supposedly “independent” investigators.

For us though, it matters not whether the IPCC is fit for purpose.  Concerns about the effectiveness or willingness of the IPCC should never be an excuse to not formally report a breach of the College of Policing’s code of ethics.  Quite the opposite.  Any contravention of this code by any person, working in any facility, needs to be officially reported and recorded to the relevant PSD department.

The volume of complaints can not all be deflected away into a dusty draw of a battered filing cabinet stored in the broom cupboard.

IODPA says this to all injured on duty pensioners.

If a HR minion makes an unlawful threat to remove your injury award, report them under the code.

If a SMP has breached confidentiality of your sensitive medical data, report them to the ICO, GMC and make a formal complaint for contravening the code.

Quite soon the lid will blow off the racket of maladministration of injury awards.  The subsequent inquiry will look, through hindsight, at the College of Policing and all responsible Chief Constables and how they allowed such rampant disregard of their own ethical standards.

 

 

Is Your Data Safe in Police Hands?

Is Your Data Safe in Police Hands?

“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.”
George Bernard Shaw

 
Our officers stand on the thin blue line ready to protect their community. In truth, quite often that thin blue line is a battle line we have drawn between law abiding citizens and the criminals who would harm them.

When the concept of a uniformed police force was first championed by Sir Robert Peel in London in the early 1800s, he was met with much resistance due to fears of what would essentially be a standing army within the city; comparisons were made to police as a government-sanctioned occupying force. The problem of how to enforce laws while preserving rights is not at all new.

Those police officers sweating it out on the front line: that’s where the concept of Guardian Policing comes in. But the Guardians of these Guardians are failing the thin blue line.

Those behind the scenes are not competent custodians of the data they hold on both those who serve the public nor those that have been medically retired – even victims are being let down by shockingly lackadaisical data protection procedures.

The management of personal data within police forces has become a travesty and police and civilian senior management are acting like an occupying army in defence mode and under siege. Whilst they disingenuously proclaim their conduct is correct, in reality rights and liberties are definitely not being preserved.

We at IODPA have been saying that Police Pension authorities have no lawful and legitimate reason to demand full disclosure of medical records from birth when they decide to review an injury award.

Put the question of the legality to retain personal sensitive data aside momentarily and stop to think for a second … if you are a medically retired officer with an injury award, do you think that your personal sensitive data is in good hands? Do you really think it is safe for them to hold your full medical records for eternity – to dip into them whenever they like, by whomever they like?

Think again. In July 2016 Big Brother Watch published a report entitled, ‘Safe in Police Hands’. The subtitle of the report is ‘How Police Forces suffer 10 data breaches every week and still want more of your data’.

Safe-in-Police-Hands

Everything contained with this report is relevant to your confidential data retained when you, as a police officer, was medically retired. Police forces do not treat your data with extra care just because you used to serve as a police officer. The truth is quite the opposite. You are more likely to be a potential victim of a data protection breach compared to a member of the public, for they definitely have your data – others become victims as and when they come into police contact.

Often they will have lost your data but they will claim they haven’t. They will cherry-pick and redact information when supposedly complying with a subject access request under the Data Protection Act. Given your own knowledge of your former employer, do you think they have the capacity to be prepared to conceal, remove or destroy incriminating evidence of injustice you suffered but otherwise, until asking for your data, had no physical proof?

They are quick to deny they breach data protection protocols. The numbers say differently:

Table 1. 1st June 2011 – 31st December 2015

No. Police Force Number of Data Breaches
1 West Midlands 488
2 Surrey Police 202
3 Humberside Police 168
4 Avon and Somerset 163
5 Greater Manchester 100
6 North Yorkshire 98
7 Cheshire Constabulary 85
8 Dorset Police 81
8 Kent Police 81
9 Merseyside Police 77
10 West Mercia 73

Just this week there have been major breaches of personal data involving involving not only GMP but the supposed guardian of the police complaints system in England and Wales, the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

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The quote from the victim’s solicitor is very revealing. Showing the default position of defensiveness-  never to admit there’s been a problem unless they’ve been forced by an external agency to come clean.

He added GMP had initially refused to accept it had done anything wrong and its internal investigation concluded no officer had infringed the police code of conduct.

If they never accept they are wrong are the self-reported figures given to answer Big Brother Watch’s Freedom of Information request actually accurate or it is an under-representation of the true number of breaches?

What is the point of the College of Policing data protection principles if they can’t even ‘police’ themselves?

 

Eggs

Eggs

‘Put all your eggs in one basket and you get a basket full of rotten eggs’

(Anon)

 

With acknowledgements to P. G. Wodehouse.

“I say, Jeeves! This egg smells rather whiffy,” said Bertie, wrinkling his nose in a way which the delightful Hermione Berkley-Houndstooth, current object of his affections, had admitted she found desperately appealing.

Jeeves paused momentarily from his accustomed daily task of ironing the morning edition of The Middleshire Racing Bugle to comment wryly, ‘In my experience sir, if something smells whiffy, then it is indeed usually whiffy. Perhaps you might care to refrain from consuming that particular egg sir.’

“Spot on, Jeeves. I say, you are a dashed clever fellow. What would a chap do without you, what?”

“Shall I select another egg for your consumption sir?” enquired the redoubtable Jeeves.

“Not bally likely, Jeeves old snort. Once whiffed, once shy, and that sort of thing. Chuck ’em all in the jolly old bin and toddle out and get some fresh ones, there’s a good chap.”

Jeeves sighed inaudibly, and put down the iron.

“And, Jeeves, when you toddle, be sure to toddle in a novel direction and obtain the said eggs from a different merchant.”

“Very good sir. Discretion would seem to dictate the wisdom of using a different purveyor, but I regret to venture that the results may be no different.”


 

 

Here at IODPA HQ we know a lot about rotten eggs, having seen them in the form of various HR managers, bean-counters and SMPs.

There is not much good to be said about a rotten egg. Once rotten, they tend to stay rotten. Their only saving grace is that they are scattered, thankfully fairly thinly at present, throughout the 43 police forces of England and Wales.

Police forces are so numerous because a wise Government, in the days when Government actually was wise, decided that policing was a local job to be done by local citizens, responsible only to the Crown, the law of the land, and the local elected members of the police authority.

Police injury pensions are the law of the land – they are the same for each force – but the administration of these pensions is in the hands, and at the mercy of, local administrators. Due to a change in the law, police authorities, who nominally at least were supposed to exercise some oversight and discretion have been disbanded, and all matters concerning injury pensions have been handed to a new office. Namely, the police pension authority.

Who, jaw-droppingly, is now the Chief Constable of each force. (Other than the City of London)

A moment’s pause for thought brings the name Robert Maxwell to mind. You may well remember that he was the disgraced media proprietor and one-time Member of Parliament, who used hundreds of millions of pounds from his companies’ pension funds to shore up the shares of the Mirror Group, intending to save his companies from bankruptcy.

Chief Constables have been taking a leaf from Maxwell’s book, and have been hungrily eyeing-up the sums of money they have to fork out from their budgets to pay the pensions of former officers who were permanently disabled in the line of duty. They see this money, not as just recompense for injury, but as a potential way of meeting the demands to trim their spending and to deliver more efficient policing.

Instead of selling off luxury cars fitted with discrete blue lights as a tax dodge and bunged to civilians to swan around in. Instead of culling the wasted hours and expense of membership of the largely useless private limited company which is the Association of Chief Constables. Instead of joining together to all buy standard computer systems which allows each force to more easily deal with crime. Instead of using combined purchasing power to secure a lower price on everything from uniforms, equipment and vehicles, to services such as accountancy and public relations, they have targeted the pensions of disabled folk.

“Wait a moment!” I hear the cry from some forces, ‘We are looking to make savings across the board, and injury pensions are just a part of the exercise.”

Sorry, Chiefs, but that just does not wash.

You have come upon this from entirely the wrong direction. IODPA accepts that no person should receive a higher rate of injury pension than appropriate. We also, and we may surprise you here, actually agree that the provision to hold reviews of degree of disablement – at appropriate intervals – is a sensible and necessary provision of the Regulations. You, Chiefs, however, think that all injury pensions are fair game, and that by devious and unlawful manipulations of reviews of degree of disablement your tame HR managers and SMPs will achieve reductions.

Your approach is wrong on all levels. Not least morally, and certainly financially. Parliament, representing the will, and blessing of the people, agreed that officers injured in the line of duty so badly that they could no longer perform the ordinary duties of a constable could be pensioned off. The pension was to be paid at a level which reflected each individual’s loss of capacity to work, and thus earn.

You, Chiefs, see fit to dishonour the sacrifices of the men and women who gave up their health whilst doing a job which is acknowledged as dangerous.

The fact is, Chiefs, that you have taken your eye off the ball. You have been listening to the warped whisperings of the bean-counters and the HR managers. The bean-counters know little, and care less, about injured officers. HR managers know nothing and care nothing about the Regulations which govern injury awards. They, at least, have excuses of misplaced objectives and ignorance.

You, Chiefs, have no such excuses.

We in IODPA hear that some nasty little twerps who frequent the meetings of the National Attendance Management Forum have been lobbying, on the grounds of cost-saving and rationalisation, that all services and administration of police injury pensions should be placed in the hands of a commercial company.

The arguments for this, which you will no doubt be asked to consider, mask the real intentions of the twerps. What they want to achieve is centralised control, by elements within the Home Office or their nominees, of the selection and training of the ”duly qualified medical practitioners’ who will be tasked with conducting their part in the reviews of individual’s degree of disablement. The twerps want to see SMPs become nothing more than the tools of a for-profit company. The twerps want to see degree of disablement calculated not by reference to medical condition, but to a theoretical figure derived by comparing theoretical wages. The twerps also want to see all injury pensions reviewed on a regular basis, regardless of the absence of any evidence of change in circumstances. The twerps, Chiefs, are doing a Maxwell.

We in IODPA say to you, Chiefs, clean up your HR Departments and sack the incompetent or train the ill-trained. You will save money as a result. Do not listen to your ignorant bean-counters and HR managers who have no concept of the reason, or true value, for there being in place a pension scheme for officers injured in the line of duty. Do not for a moment be fooled by these pygmies into thinking that a centralised administration of injury pensions will save your force money. It will not.

What will result is all the rotten eggs being put in one basket.

And that will create such a stink that you will never be rid of it.

College of Policing Inquiry ends with damning assessment of Injury Award system

College of Policing Inquiry ends with damning assessment of Injury Award system
The College of Policing reports that there is widespread lack of expertise regarding the police injury pension Regulations. We believe that injured on duty pensioners know more about the Regulations than those who are supposed to apply them. We understand there is also widespread interference by medically unqualified staff in the process of deciding the degree of former officers’ disablement. There is now a complete lack of trust that injury pensions are being managed lawfully.

“Toxic people will pollute everything around them. Don’t hesitate. Fumigate.”
Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

It wasn’t meant to be like this.

An award for life in compensation for an injury sustained has become a ruination of a thing.  Those who are in receipt of injury pensions are drained of life and hope, having suffered the double blow of being injured and then being further assaulted by the tribulations imposed on them by the abuses of management and the warped cogs of Human Resources churning out their unfeeling, rusty, circular machinations.

The Facebook page of IODPA has numerous stories from those with an IOD award of despair, loss of hope, rejection from the norms of society, isolation, legitimate paranoia – alienation from life just because of the misfortune of an event that could have happened to anyone. If that was not enough suffering, they are then treated as persona non grata by certain functionaries within the force who, bearing an unfathomable but odious grudge, have amply displayed their reluctance to properly administer injury pensions.

Sometimes this torture is drawn out for years only for the same apparatchiks – those concerned with warped procedural incorrectness at the expense of people’s needs – to re-enter and further damage the lives of people who have been trying to desperately rebuild their world.

This hasn’t just happened overnight.  The subversion has been deliberate but avoidable and it is shameful that The College of Policing recognises the extent of the damage but ignores the question of why it has been allowed to happen.  Its recent report into Injury on Duty process treats the extent of damage as just ‘one of those things’. That it has happened, is, according to the College, perhaps a matter of some mild regret, but the situation is otherwise unremarkable and was apparently unavoidable.  The hindsight of the college has ignored that truth that senior personnel have set in motion the sequence of events with deliberation.  This state of affairs is truly the fruit of their labour.

Reading between the lines of the report it is easy to see that it is no more than a vehicle to further justify the aims of certain ill-intentioned people to create regionally controlled and directed administration of police injury pensions. All in a good cause – of course. To help ensure consistency. The truth, we suspect, is to ensure that the Regulations are manipulated and abused consistently by all forces instead of just a few.

College of Policing Review of PMAB IHR IoD FINAL.PDF

Many forces are struggling due to the lack of expertise within their organisations. Both forces and staff associations report difficulties managing these issues due to key personal leaving the organisation or being absent for short periods due to sickness or prolonged periods of leave.

“Many forces are struggling” . . . what about those unfortunates suffering from the permanent effects of a duty injury who have to struggle to deal with the admittedly inexperienced and direction-less ‘key personnel’?  The College of Policing”s report does not reflect that it is mismanagement of resources, poor recruitment policies in respect of senior HR staff, and bad leadership that is the cause.  A lifetime with an injury pension can be made toxic because of the incompetence of a single poorly trained HR manager.

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 decision NOT to review! The College openly now accepts something we have long known and which some forces have long denied: that the decision to review is discretionary and is not the often touted absolute power which commands everyone with an award has be dragged over the coals for a review every 2 years.  Forces can’t claim they have a duty to review when it is evidential that they have habitually not held reviews. They can’t have it both ways.

There is no specific training available to the FMAs and it is recognised that the quality of the SMP decision will be very much dependant on the information provided by the FMA and force occupational health.

What are they on about?  The decision of the SMP is purely a factual medical decision, which the SMP as a doctor who, by law, must be ‘duly qualified’ to make. The SMPs decision is based on the consideration of substantial change since the last decision. That decision rests on the SMPs assessment of the pensioner’s medical condition.

Why should any submission from the occupational health unit have any relevance to a matter that does not concern them? The SMP is the decision-maker, not Occupational Health or HR. The only information which the SMP need be supplied with can come solely via the pensioner. It should be no more that the individual’s medical record since the time of the last final decision on degree of disablement and the pensioner’s account of his or her present state of health as affected by duty injury.

What is happening is that the independent role of the SMP is being interfered with, influenced and eroded. The above statement in the College’s report shows the extent of the toxic prejudice, and the institutionalised agenda to influence the SMP.

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. This lack of training also impacts on the ability of the force to manage these processes as the core knowledge is invested in only a small number of individuals. Where forces do not possess the knowledge, there is no immediate resource available to assist in managing these processes properly or monitor compliance in IHR and IoD decisions.

The College admits that they are failing officers who have been injured in the line of duty.  But still in Avon & Somerset, the likes of Wood (HR Business Manager), Jones (HR Manager) and Bulpitt (FMA) – the cabal of the above mentioned small number of individuals – continue their crusade to undermine injury pensions further.  Are they not responsible for a disservice to officers who have been injured in the line of duty?   Why, we have to ask, are they left to further add their concentrated toxicity to the process with nothing to neutralise them? Could it be that no other person in the force has any clue what they are up to? Or is it nearer to the truth that no other person cares what they are up to?

Here are a few bullet points that the College left out their report:

  1. Retired officers often feel abhorrence to the force that they left. Being pragmatic former police officers, it is not the injury that they begrudge, so much as how the force focused it’s ire and treated them like a contaminated contagious foreign body that needed to be expelled.
  2. Those with an injury pension have made it their business to understand the Regulations and case-law. We know far more than the inexperienced and poorly trained ‘key personnel’ which infest so many forces, as alluded to in the College’s report.
  3. After HOC 46/2004, we have had enough. We will not stand for further abuse and maladministration.

“Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back!” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Reviews only work if the process has trust.  The report of the College of Policing shows that the medical retirement process itself is broken.  A broken process generates distrust. Why would anyone who has been treated unfairly, even unlawfully, allow the force that did them such a disservice back into their life so that the force can roll them over again with a view to reducing the force’s financial commitments?  Once bitten, twice shy.

The world has moved on; the Regulations are the same but pensioners experience of abuses over the years against injury awards by those mentioned in the College of Policing report means things are profoundly different now from what they once were.  Pensioners are educated in the wiles of errant HR, Occupational Health personnel and corrupt SMPs and know how to recognise them, and how to deal with them. The recent past abuses can not be easily forgotten, if ever. The current evolving abuses cannot be tolerated or allowed to continue. Unless there is a disclosure of the full truth behind these abuses followed by a genuine change of attitude within forces, and open minded reconciliation then it is unlikely that anyone who has an injury award will blindly allow themselves to be victims again.