Dick Taverne

Ex-Police Constable Archibald

Ex-Police Constable Archibald

“If you want to feel the life and the body of great men who are long gone, go to their tombs or monuments; if you want to understand the real life and the wisdom of great men who are long gone, go to their libraries!”
Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

The Police Pension Scheme has its origins in a scheme introduced by the Metropolitan Police in 1829. Benefits were provided on disablement for London officers “worn out by length of service”. Payment of a pension was discretionary, with limits to payment set in legislation. The pensions reflected the “arduous and hazardous conditions” of police work.

A police officer could gain a maximum pension after 25 years, compared to 45 years under the 1834 civil service scale.

In 1890, the Government promoted a Bill which retained the existing superannuation funds.  A uniform pension scheme for police officers was first established under the Police Pensions Act 1921 and further detailed police pensions regulations, along the current lines of what we have today, were subsequently made under the Police Pensions Act 1948.

On the 21st November 1967 Mr. Ron Lewis (Member for Carlisle) had an exchange in the Commons concerning police injury pensions with Dick Taverne, the then Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department.  The featured image of this blog is a picture of Mr Taverne sat in his personal library.

They discuss the case of an ex-policeman named P.C. Archibald, who had “… been compulsorily retired from the police as a result of injuries sustained in the course of duty in trying to restore order or to arrest criminals”.

How attitudes have changed. Back then they understood that earnings had no relevance to the degree of disablement and that it was important to ensure the “fair and adequate financial provision for police officers who are retired because of disablement as a result of injuries received in the performance of their duties”.

Mr Dick Taverne:
I come to particular examples, including Police Constable Archibald’s case. A police constable like Mr. Archibald who retired after nine years’ service with the degree of disablement of 40 per cent..—. . . [snip. Archibald got an enhanced ill-health pension and an injury award]. . ., his total benefit would be £149 plus £198, or a total of £347 a year, and he would continue to receive this while the degree of disablement persisted, whatever work he took up.

The purpose and intent of the injury Regulations has not changed one iota since PC Archibald’s duty injuries were the subject of Parliamentary discussion. To the Home Office Minister of the day, it was a clear as it could be that there was absolutely no link between what a disabled former officer earned and the level of his injury pension. This is what we in IODPA have been saying for some time, but, so far, scheme managers are refusing to listen. They will, eventually, have to listen when this issue is aired by means of judicial review – and that will not be too far in the future.

We’ll say it again. Reviews where any attention is paid to earnings are unlawful. The medical condition resultant from the duty injury, and whether it has altered so as to improve or worsen an individual’s ability (capacity) to work is the focus, not income.

Here is a link to the full exchange: