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
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.



Bad Medicine

Bad Medicine

“Men will always be mad, and those who think they can cure them are the maddest of all.”

“Doctors put drugs of which they know little into bodies of which they know less for diseases of which they know nothing at all.”

The College of Policing released a report in 2015 concerning an inquiry it arranged into the Injury on Duty process. This post will discuss how that report revealed issues concerning the Occupational Health clinicians who are used by forces in the role of ‘duly qualified medical practitioners‘ as required by the Regulations which govern police injury pensions.

Each of the quotes used below are excerpts from the College’s report.

Before I begin, I need to mention the structure of the College.

It is perhaps not quite the independent seat of learning and academic rigour which one might naturally expect of anything calling itself a ‘college’. It is currently a private limited company, with but one shareholder, who is the Home Secretary. It’s own web site tells us that,

As the College is currently a company limited by guarantee, as well as an Arm’s Length Body of the Home Office, all members of the Board are Company Directors.

In plain language, the College is the Home Office pretending to be an academic institution.

Being arm’s length is a bit like the Mafia setting up apparently legitimate shell companies to launder its money and to give the appearance of respectability. With the Home Office it is not dirty money which needs to be laundered, but dirty, disrespectful ideas which seek to undermine the law of the land.

Just as the College is not quite what it would like us to think it is, much the same sort of misdirection applies to the odd little off-shoot of the medical profession known as Occupational Health.

By some self-publicising accounts Occupation Health is a, ‘multi-disciplinary approach to developing and ensuring compliance with safe working practices, and maintaining the health and well-being of those employed in a particular occupation or workplace’.

Phew. Quite a mouthful.  One has to wonder quite what that has to do with regards to administration of the Police Injury Benefit Regulations. Yet the situation is that forces have been persuaded to accept that any SMP must hold a minimum qualification in occupational health.

Occupational Health clinicians like to get people back to work, or help prevent them getting injured or ill in the first place. That is their raison d’etre. Notwithstanding that a police officer is not an employee (they are holders of office), once medically retired a former officer injured on duty is no longer employed in any sense of the word – they are retired via incapacity – so it is hard to see quite what value an occupational health clinician can bring to the area of police injury pensions.

Injury on Duty awards are governed by Regulations, which mention not a single word about duly qualified medical practitioners needing to have a qualification in occupational health. All that the Regulations require is the selected medic is actually qualified to practice – which means they must be registered with the GMC.

So, how is it that IOD pensioners are now faced with having to be assessed by medics whose chosen ‘specialisation’ has effectively removed most of them from the actual day-to-day practice of ‘real’ doctoring? The answer is that some few years ago, the now-defunct Police Negotiating Board, whose remit was to negotiate the details of pay and conditions for serving police officers, strangely decided to issue a joint circular, with the Home Office, in which it agreed that all ‘duly qualified medical practitioners’ who were to make decisions under the Regulations should hold a minimum qualification in occupational health.

The effect of this has been to narrow the pool of duly qualified medical practitioners who might work as ‘selected medical practitioners’ (SMPs) down from the approximately 236,000 doctors who are licensed to practice medicine in the UK, to a measly handful of doctors who have bothered to qualify for what most mainstream doctors regard as the utterly irrelevant specialisation of occupational health.

The small number of potential doctors who can be selected by a police pension authority has been further diminished by the interference of the National Attendance Management Forum which has seen fit to produce a list of doctors it claims ‘have shown an interest in’ working as SMPs. This is, of course, typical new-speak meaning that these doctors are the sort who are either gullible enough or corrupt enough to see the Regulations as no more than a general guide which can be ignored.

Disabled former officers have been powerless to prevent the erosion of the role of what was intended by the Regulations to be performed by independent, experienced medical professionals. Instead, they now face the prospect of the level of their pension income being in the dubious hands of doctors who are on the very bottom tier of the medical profession, and who have shown themselves to be variously incompetent, corrupt or ignorant of what the Regulations require of them.

IODPA has seen examples of SMPs knowing full well that a former officer is a 100% band 4 but still, with perverse logic, and directly contrary to the Regulations, give the retiree a figure of 85% in order to provide some forlorn future ‘hope’ of a recovery to the disabled person. Similarly, SMPs have looked to the future and speculated about what jobs a retiree may be able to do – thus completely missing the point that an assessment of degree of disablement is supposed to be based the extent the disabling effects of duty injury have – past tense – had on the individual’s capacity to work. In other perversions, SMPs ‘decide’ that an individual is, say, 50% disabled, only for some HR pen-pusher with no medical qualifications take a short list of wages which might be earned, compare them to either the former police salary earned, or some nominal figure plucked from the data on national earnings produced by the Office of National Statistics, and then – wait for it – take one from the other to determine a ‘degree of disablement’ then take the 50% off the resultant figure.

This sort of manipulation is without a doubt completely unlawful. IODPA gives fair warning to HR managers, SMPs and Chief Constables that this issue will be dealt with in the High Court in due course.

Given that considerable doubt has been cast on the professional competence of SMPs, on their independence, and on the unwarranted and illegal interference with their decisions by HR personnel, any reasonable police pension authority would cease the practice of wage comparison at once. Of course, we at IODPA know full well that police pension authorities will do what they always do and deny there is anything wrong.

Just as occupational health qualifications have no part to play in the role of SMP so is reason, common sense and decency absent from the small number of Chief Constables who continue to allow their wayward HR managers to abuse disabled former officers and stick two fingers up to the Regulations.

We need now to return to the inquiry which the College of Policing completed, to get a glimpse of the full, disturbing picture of the shambles that is the administration of police injury pensions.

Shockingly, the College admits that that some forces take delight in the subversion of the Regulatory process by influencing the SMP. Moreover some SMPs take delight in being influenced to do the subversion – what better way to keep the paymaster happy!

In the event of incidents of force subversion of the regulatory process, considering SMPs are on the whole employees of occupational health providers working under contract with the force, there is a clear conflict of interest for the companies in question in the event that a SMP raised concerns. – paragraph 19.10

That is no surprise to us. Add together a force willing to subvert a lawful process with a SMP whose occupational health mindset is such that they only sees their role as being to get someone back to work and you have a rather a monstrous double-sided conflict of interest.

The College reveals there is little attraction in working as a SMP.

In addition to this there is a general perception articulated by a number of clinicians who engage with this review that the police service is not a desirable employer. At the heart of this issue appears to be concerns over vulnerability to baseless complaints, or threats of complaints, by officers or former officers, to the GMC in order to obtain more favourable pension settlements. Other SMPs report perceived pressure from management to obstruct the process and influence decisions – paragraph 19.7

It is the involvement of and bastardisation of ‘guidance’ by the National Attendance Management Forum, and the fact that it has produced a list of doctors, and companies providing doctors who are willing to act as SMPs that has meant a small pool of lowly occupational health clinicians now have a monopoly. The NAMF has its set list of preferred SMPs – a list that, we repeat, has had the consequence of further stifling the available pool of competent clinicians. SMPs are now given work just because they have been working as SMPs and not because their judgements are sound.

Otherwise excellent doctors are either barred from becoming SMPs or see the role as beneath them, and dangerous to their professional reputation to boot.

Many forces are experiencing increasing difficulty in identifying suitable doctors to perform this role. The role of the SMP is a specialist one and at the time of writing the available resource is limited. Historically, when the relevant regulations were written, many SMPs worked as Force Medical Advisors (FMA) in other forces. However ongoing changes to occupational health delivery has resulted in the vast majority of forces now obtaining clinicians from private companies with no prior background of the police service.- paragraph 19.3


One of the problems relating to the difficulties in obtaining suitable doctors as SMPs is cost. Whilst SMPs can represent a significant cost resource to Forces, SMP work is relatively poorly paid compared to other roles clinicians can obtain both in the field of occupational medicine and in the private sector. In addition to this, the General Medical Council (GMC), in their 2014 edition of our annual ‘state of medical education and practice’ report, recognises the decline in the number of doctors choosing to go into occupational medicine and reports that occupational health has more doctors aged over 50 than any other speciality. – paragraph 19.5

On one hand the College is saying there is a shortage of SMPs and on another they say they are underpaid. Market forces do not work this way. A rare resource can charge an inflated amount; what the College fails to report is that a cabal of SMPs have a monopoly and all the available work is taken by a small number of well-paid ‘guns for hire’.  We know, for example, of one SMP who was paid over £45,000 for conducting fewer than a dozen reviews. These ‘established’ names suffocate competition and prevent new blood from entering the profession.

We have to also comment that it seems the College is saying that becoming a SMP is really the last chance saloon for occupational health clinicians who have failed to make a living elsewhere.

The situation, according to the College, is that these rather pathetic failures are thrown in the deep end when they take on the role of SMP.

There is at present no recognised training or qualification for Force Medical Advisors (FMA) attempting to manage these complex issues, or for SMPs, who must make statutory, quasi-judicial decisions.- paragraph 15.3

It is not the Regulations which are complex. In fact, as statutory instruments go, they are concise and clear. The esoteric fog only exists because the police pension authorities have, in the words of the College, repeatedly attempted to subvert the process. It has fallen to the judiciary to undo the damage the Home Office and individual forces inflict on the Regulation’s interpretation.

Perhaps the raw truth is more like the College has heard forces moan to them that they are finding it difficult to undermine the Regulations. That, having dreamed up a cunning plan to control the supply of doctors who can act in the role of SMP, some forces now find they have contracted people who are so useless as to not even be capable of perverting the Regulations convincingly.

The PNB guidance states that in order to perform the role of a SMP a doctor must be competently trained to effectively assess a police officer’s medical condition and disability. However the role of the SMP also requires them to understanding the complex regulations and case law and make arbitrations on evidence. These requirements lie outside the normal skill set of a professional clinician and are more associated with the role of a legal professional. – paragraph 15.4

Again the College is seeking to excuse the poor administration of Injury Awards by repeatedly proclaiming that the Regulations are complex – conveniently forgetting that it is those who administer the Regulations who have forced the wealth of case law into existence as a result of their inability to do things right.

Any competent holder of a medical degree will take huge offence at the College’s assertion that making decisions based on arbitrations of evidence is beyond their skill-set. Given the regulatory demands of any aspect of the medical profession such understanding is surely a core skill.

To date there are limited training opportunities available and no centrally accredited SMP qualification. Individual SMPs are therefore reliant on their experience of the work, personal endeavour and any ad hoc training they have been given by their employers. – paragraph 15.5

The Regulations in their current form have been in existence since 1987. Almost 30 years have passed and the College brazenly declares that there is still no gold-standard to measure the competency of a SMP.

Again the College conveniently forgets that the current chaos of poor and shady SMPs had its birth in Home Office circular 46/2004 which contained guidance from the Home Office which was an unlawful carte blanche attack on the Regulations. It took a courageous IOD pensioner to drag the Home Office to the very door of the High Court before the Home Office caved in and accepted the guidance was unlawful and agreed to withdraw it.

The guidance has been erased but the perversions of the Regulations continue, with some forces inventing ever more complex ways of manipulation so as to produce decisions which reduce the amount of pension paid.

It is no wonder that even decent SMPs are hopelessly confused or find their genuine efforts to apply the Regulations properly are frustrated.

The review has found little to no evidence of the private companies who are contracted by forces to provide both occupational health provisions and SMPs providing formal training for SMPs. Furthermore it is questionable whether consideration of training was included in tendering when obtaining SMPs through occupational health companies. – paragraph 15.9

Even the business school mantra of, ‘If in doubt outsource it’ is called into question by the College. By hiring a company to provide a SMP a police pension authority will lose any in-house experience but at least they can blame a private company when it all goes wrong. Or not. The private companies become bigger and bigger and as they do so they become less fit for purpose. The College fails to address why all this public money is given to occupational health companies who fail to evidence competency in the tendering process.

So, where is all this going? What actually lays behind the Home Office encouraging the College to make its enquiry? Why is the Home Office apparently content so see exposed so many failures by forces, their HR departments and SMPs?

Bear in mind when pondering this apparent own goal that the College is an arm’s length body of the Home Office. The College is the Home Office.

The report contains a blatant clue as to what the Home Office hopes to achieve. It raises the spectre of complaints against SMPs and it puts forward the suggestion that, when performing their roles under the Regulations, SMPs should have immunity from GMC standards.

It is noted that in separate correspondence to the Home Office representations have been made to suggest judicial exclusion for the role of the SMP. Furthermore legal opinion obtained as part of this review suggests that a medical authority appointed under the Regulations may be covered by the doctrine of
judicial privilege.- paragraph 19.2

Who made these ‘representations’ and what motivated them being made? It is an astounding suggestion – that doctors which the Regulations require do nothing more complicated or demanding than make independent medical assessments and decisions should need to be elevated to the status of a Crown Court Judge.

This immunity is contrary to the guidance of the GMC who state …


The first duty of a doctor registered with the GMC is to
make the care of their patient their first concern. The
term ‘patient’ in this guidance also refers to employees,
clients, athletes and anyone else whose personal
information you hold or have access to, whether or not
you care for them in a traditional therapeutic
relationship. – Section 2

A SMP is always a medical doctor first and therefore is answerable to the GMC. Under the Regulations their role is primarily medical in nature and purpose. A SMP must comply with the Regulations. Yes, decisions a SMP makes form part of a quasi-judicial process, but the College is in error when it suggests the SMP should become a judicial figure, for that element and responsibility is already present and rests with the office of police pension authority.

The report is nothing more that a sham. It is not the independent, impartial, academically rigorous enquiry it purports to be. As a dissertation it would be torn apart, for its entire purpose is to provide support for an idea. It is an exercise in propaganda.

Appendix D of the report contains the ugly truth of the Home Office’s purpose. The Home Office likes appendices. It was appendix C to Home Office circular 46/2004 which tried to encourage forces to act unlawfully. Here we have yet another appendix intent on much the same objective.

Appendix D offers a vision of a future arrangement when Regional Centres manage all aspects of the administration of injury awards. Forces, and SMPs, will completely lose the independence of thought and action which the Regulations are intended to ensure. The Home Office will have recreated the infamous Volksgerichtshof, the ‘people’s courts’ of the Third Reich, which were intended to provide that regime with an apparently lawful way of side-stepping the inconvenience of an independent judiciary.

Various benefits to such an arrangement are touted, but the plain truth is that if regional centres are created then they will be controlled entirely by the Home Office, no doubt through another shell company – sorry, an arm’s length body – which will ensure that all doctors hired as SMPs are compliant, corrupt and whose purpose will be to subvert the Regulations to the very great detriment of the brave men and women who were disabled in the line of duty.


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.