NARPO

Thames Valley Police Lead The Way With Ethical Injury Reviews

Thames Valley Police Lead The Way With Ethical Injury Reviews

Thames Valley Police (‘TVP’) lead the way in how Injury on Duty reviews should be carried out and if they do indeed, follow the process as described by their National Association of Retired Police Officers Secretary (‘NARPO’), they should be applauded and praised.

We are extremely pleased to read this publication from TVP’s NARPO Secretary.  NARPO and the Federation have been involved from the outset and it appears that Reg 37(1) reviews will be conducted in exactly the way we have been campaigning for.

TVP IOD pensioners have been well represented by both organisations and we thank them wholeheartedly.

IODPA have never had a problem with reviews being held as long as they are conducted fairly, compassionately and in accordance with the Regulations and all relevant caselaw.

We are delighted that it seems that TVP are going to do just that.

Thames Valley NARPO have released a circulation explaining how the process will be carried out, how the procedure was agreed following consultation with NARPO, the Police Federation and the Force administration.

Here is the relevant section of the NARPO newsletter –

TVP NARPO

 

We commend the approach by Chief Constable Habgood (pictured above) and his team for showing the way the review process should be carried out. We are forever hopeful that other reviewing forces will take note.

If anyone is concerned at any impending reviews, please contact us at using our contact form above where we will be able to support and assist.

Catch Up

Catch Up

For a wrongdoer to be undetected is difficult; and for him to have confidence that his concealment will continue is impossible

Epicurus

 

There has been so much going on. It’s hard to know where to start. IODPA has grown in a very short space of time from its beginnings of a handful of IOD pensioners to its proud status as a registered national charity.

Membership of IODPA is growing apace. Every force in England and Wales is now represented, and we also are honoured to have members from Northern Ireland and Scotland. Our members bring with them a wealth of knowledge, experience and skills which all add to the collective strength and capabilities of IODPA.

We thought it was timely to mention, and to celebrate, some of our successes over recent months. Uniquely, IODPA gets it strength from the efforts of determined individuals who stand up to maladministration of injury pensions in whatever forms it takes. We are not a top-down organisation. The strength and success of IODPA comes from its members, and from its supporters.

So let’s see what’s been happening.

Let’s start with our members. Every time a new member joins we get to hear their account of wrongdoing by injury pension scheme managers. It
saddens us to hear so many pitiful stories of the harm done to disabled former officers by uncaring HR managers, by SMPs, by police pension
authorities who view the police injury pension Regulations as a tool to save money and by some police and crime commissioners who do not want to
know the bad news about wrong doing by senior officers and others.

Happily, IODPA is shining a light of ever increasing brilliance into the murky corners of those HR departments who deliberately abuse the
Regulations. We are watching, we are listening and we will ensure compliance with the Regulations and current caselaw. IODPA spreads
knowledge, and knowledge is power. We empower our members to stand up for their rights. By exposing wrongdoing we empower right minded HR
managers to conduct themselves within the law.

Our members are living proof of the old adage that in unity there is strength.

What then of our supporters? We have recently announced we have our first Patron. None other than Pete Conway has kindly agreed to be a
Patron of IODPA. Pete Conway is the stage name of Peter Williams, who describes himself as, ‘Veteran Entertainer, Sports nut and father of a
famous son.’ and is none other than the father of the World-famous singer Robbie Williams.

As one of the roles of a Patron is to raise public awareness of the charity they support, we are confident that Pete will bring IODPA to the
attention of a wider audience beyond former and serving police officers and their families.

Elsewhere, we know that NARPO has consistently done what it could to support disabled former officers, so we are delighted to reveal that Brian Burdus, President of NARPO, together with Vice President Richard Critchley, CEO Steve Edwards and Deputy CEO Alan Lees met with trustees of IODPA in Wakefield recently. Brian has written in the NARPO magazine that there was, “…agreement that the work they [IODPA] did was a useful source for members to use.” Branch secretaries have been advised of the NARPO recognition of the valuable work we do for former officers who were injured and disabled in the line of duty.

It was a pleasure for our trustees to meet with the Brian, Richard, Steve and Alan, and we thank them for their generous welcome. IODPA will continue to work together with NARPO at local and national level, which can only be good news for all IOD pensioners.

We ought to elaborate here on the valuable work IODPA does. We provide general and personalised advice and support for all our members.
We help former and serving officers to understand the Regulations which govern injury awards, and thus help them protect their rights against
the widespread and persistent maladministration which has poisoned what is intended to be a benevolent provision of lifelong compensation for
disabled former officers.

Beyond advice, we are empowered by having a very close working relationship with two excellent firms of solicitors. We know that all
too often forces can be remarkably stubborn. They often have a pathological antipathy to admitting mistakes, and sometimes the only way
to ensure they apply the Regulations lawfully is to challenge them in court. Haven Solicitors and Cartwright King together have the most
expert and profound understanding of the Regulations, and all associated law, and know exactly how to deal with SMP’s and police pension
authorities’ misdeeds.

We also are happy to have a more recent but equally successful association with Equal Justice, which specialises in Employment Tribunal cases.

Our solicitors instruct David Lock, QC of Landmark Chambers. David has developed a special interest and expertise in all aspects of police
injury pensions and is responsible for bringing about successful resolutions in a string of cases, all of which have greatly enhanced
understanding of how the Regulations should be applied. His successes have exposed the chronic failures of some police pension authorities and
we thank him for that and for the most helpful informative opinion pieces he has published on line. We only hope that good-hearted and
well-intentioned HR people take note and join with us in condemning those of their colleagues who would seek to abuse the Regulations.

Indeed, raising awareness is a constant theme of IODPA’s work. We have a ready audience of IOD pensioners who are growing daily more alert
to the sad fact that many HR departments have poorly trained staff, who are under pressure to produce results, often by methods which are at
best dubious and at worst downright unlawful. We aim to be a counter voice to those who whisper in the ears of HR employees and others. We
speak the truth. We expose those whose motivation is contrary to the intentions of the Regulations. We explain the rules. In so doing we aim
to encourage decent folk to resist all pressure to act in ways which demean their integrity.

That leads us seamlessly on to mention the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It is readily apparent that some forces have played fast and loose with the personal information they hold which refers to former officers. We have heard of multiple instances where information has been accessed, ‘processed’ in the language of the data protection legislation, without the consent or knowledge of the data subject. We have also been most concerned to see repeated instances of forces using very dubious practices, including threats, in attempts to compel disabled former officers into giving access to sensitive personal information, such as details of income, employment, and health.

We are pleased to see the GDPR, which came into effect on the 25th May, very much tightens up the way organisations safeguard and process personal information. We anticipate IOD pensioners will use the GDPR to check how their personal data is held, to prevent any unlawful use of it, and to put a firm stop to all unlawful attempts to obtain information which forces or police pension authorities have no entitlement to seek.

IODPA has arranged a special two day seminar during which we will learn from experts how the GDPR can be used to help further the
effectiveness of our charitable work.

As part of IODPA’s ongoing work to inform, educate and share we have held several well attended conferences and workshops in various
locations across the country. We recently held our first meeting in Northumbria and are planning another one shortly, where IODPA will be
assisting all injury on duty pensioners who want to learn how to protect their rights.

In conjunction with NARPO, we achieved a major about-turn from one police pension authority which had sent out notices to pensioners that
their degree of disablement was to be reviewed. The author of the letter had tried to claim that failure to complete an enclosed questionnaire
was covered by the Regulations, and that any such failure would allow the police pension authority to reduce the pension down to band one.

When confronted over this flagrant abuse of the Regulations, the Chief Constable had no option other than to offer an apology and arrange
withdrawal of the review notices and questionnaires.

We are awaiting the next move from this particular force.

And on that note, we end this brief catch up with a word of thanks and praise to those who are perhaps the silent invisible
supporters of all that IODPA stands for – the decent right minded HR managers and others who are prepared to work to ensure the police
pension regulations are applied honestly and fairly.

Newsflash: The Lost Contract of Staffordshire

Newsflash: The Lost Contract of Staffordshire

Our investigative columnist has spent minutes in the labyrinth of long-forgotten archives and has discovered a contract that seems to rather undermine Staffordshire’s new found eagerness to recommence reviews. Click here to download: Staffordshire-Police-Injury-Awards-Agreement

Staffordshire-Police-Injury-Awards-Agreement-amended

A promise made not to review.

It seems to be saying that, as at 01/01/2008, anyone under state retirement age (SRA) and anyone over state retirement shall  “retain their existing injury award band“.  The former until SRA and the latter for life.

In a benevolent wave of a wonky wand, apparently everyone is “entitled to at least a Band 1 injury award for life“.  Which is nice given that it would be unlawful not to provide the injury award for life.

Home Office Circular 46/2004 couldn’t and didn’t change the legislation that defines a review under Regulation 37(1) of the Police (Injury) Benefit Regulations.  The statute and the discretional duty of the Regulation is the same now as it was then.

So why, do we ask, are those same people who signed this contract back in 2008, now eligible to be reviewed in the present day?  And how can the arbitrary cut-off of August 2008 be defended as sound?  One rule for one, and another rule for others never sits well with equality law.

Those with a band two award and above, in their fifties and so below SRA when their contract was signed, now face the traumatic shattering of their expectation to never be reviewed .  Some of this exact same cohort are now under the self-imposed age of 72 years and concurrently above state retirement age.

They basically had a promise that they will never be reviewed. Ever.  The guff about cogent reason and the nonsense on steroids about a review just because someone reaches SRA, read today in 2017, is contrary to case law.

Mr Justice Supperstone in the Simpson judicial review in 2013 made it clear that:

there is no justification for adopting a different approach to regulation 37(1) in respect of a former officer who reaches the age of 65 than in the case of a review for former officers of a younger age.

It was clearly known in 2008 that the 46/2004 circular was unlawful otherwise this Staffordshire contract would not have come into effect.  Staffordshire allowed it to come into being for it’s own self-preservation and as a means to get former officers to agree to the unagreeable.  What better way to reduce someone unlawfully when there is no invented cogent reasons stopping them, than to get that someone to sign a contract to agree that it’s OK to do it without the necessary substantial change to the medical condition demanded by the Regulations.

Oh, how quickly their positive duty evaporates when it means defending a court claim.

On the other side, it was an well-intentioned (albeit misguided) attempt by local NARPO and Federation to protect those retired with injury awards as best they could, all before the illegality of an automatic reduction at SRA and unlawfully invented so-called cogent reasons was judged by the Pension Ombudsman and in the High Court as being a travesty, and that actually the protection wasn’t needed.

But what the agreement now does is raise two major issues and several corollaries.

The first is Estoppel and the basis of reasonable expectation: Staffordshire is now asserting something contrary to what it has implied by a previous action or statement by them.

The second is direct age discrimination that those with an injury award are to be treated differently depending on the abstract variable of whether they were retired before or after the 1st August 2008.  Those with ‘the pledge‘ have to be treated the same as those without ‘the pledge‘, given those without are by default younger.

In other words, Estoppel stops those signatories from ever being reviewed and direct discrimination prevents anyone retired post this agreement from being treated differently.

Oh, what a tangled web Staffordshire weave.

 

National Association of Retired Police Officers

National Association of Retired Police Officers

NARPO+27th+August+2014

IODPA is thankful for the help and assistance provided by the CEO and Deputy CEO of NARPO.  We recognise the time they have given to respond to phones calls and provide assistance.  The letter above sent by NARPO HQ clearly demonstrates  the views of IODPA – that reviews need to be performed fairly and in harmony with the regulations.

IODPA would also like to thank a couple of senior members of the Avon & Somerset branch of NARPO for their constructive input and support recently.  We hope that we can continue the pleasant working relationship to make sure that future actions by the constabulary are always fair and lawful, as well as relevant and compassionate to the individual.