A Brief History
Part One. 2004 -
Please also see “Annex C -
A change in the way that police pensions were funded apparently led to the Home Office, who, in Annex ‘C’ of it’s circular 46/2004 issued guidance to Police Authorities concerning the pensions paid to those former police officers who, through no fault of their own, had been injured in the course of their duties and had been forced to retire.
Injury on duty pensions are awarded in accordance with regulations. The guidance suggested that the authorities could review those pensions in novel ways which had no foundation in the appropriate regulations. Notably, the guidance introduced age related reviews which, at compulsory retirement age, suggested that the injury pension should be calculated using national average earnings, instead of police pay. It also suggested that once the pensioner reached the state retirement age the injury pension could be reduced to it’s lowest level irrespective of the level of disability. These measures had a profound effect on the incomes of injured former officers and their families, many pensioners losing several thousand pounds per annum.
Individuals opposed the attack on their incomes and eventually gained considerable success culminating in early 2012 in the provisions relating to reductions at state retirement age being declared unlawful and withdrawn by the Home Office.
In the autumn of 2012 the Deputy Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire produced a new injury policy which was accepted by his force. This policy was seen as a very positive move and has been generally welcomed by former officers. The author of the policy was said to have taken the lead within the Association of Chief Police Officers for injury policy. It was therefore thought possible that the Cambridge policy could form the basis of policy nationally. However in the spring of 2013, this looked less likely when draft guidance was produced by the National Attendance Management Forum. There are elements of this new guidance that appear to be more concerned with cost savings than pensioner entitlements under the Regulations. At the time of writing, the Home Office position on future Injury policy and guidance is not known..
Finally in February 2014, the guidance relating to reviews at compulsory retirement age and the use of average earnings as comparator were declared unlawful and withdrawn.
A Brief History
Part Two. 2014 -
Police Forces are entitled to formulate their own policies, the guidance is not compulsory and has no legal authority. The Courts have previously been very clear and critical of forces attempting to save money at the expense of their injured pensioners.
In late 2013 some forces notified IOD pensioners of their intention to restart reviews. Although they claim that the reviews would be carried out strictly in accordance with Regulations, it is clear that some forces intend to introduce novel criteria into the process.
In 2014 a number of forces had started reviews .
It is also apparent that, in one force, which adopted a more enlightened policy, some of the old ways were creeping back with evidence of unlawful practice in the conduct some aspects of the process. At this stage it is not known if this results from policy or simply ignorance and lack of professionalism.
In 2014 we became aware of correspondence between the Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon & Somerset and the Home Office which revealed an appalling attitude towards injured ex officers by the PCC. The tone of that correspondence motivated many ex officers including serving officers and this ultimately lead to the formation of IODPA the following year. Also in 2014 the Northern Ireland Scoffield Report conducted by Mr David Scoffield QC examined the IOD process independently and in great detail and made a number of recommendations, acceptance of which has greatly improved the circumstances of injured ex officers.
In 2015 the formation of IODPA has created an organisation that encompasses a much wider membership with a large proportion of enquiries coming from serving officers. Previously, it had mainly been older ex officers affected by HOC46/2004 that had taken up the challenge, but they are now joined by younger retired IOD’s and also serving officers who have suffered injury in the course of duty.
In recent years serious concerns have been raised concerning the impartiality and independence of Selected Medical Practitioners with many IOD’s expressing their distrust following SMP reports which dilute the true nature of injuries and do not equate to the diagnosis and opinions of the specialists who have been actually treating the IOD patients.
It would appear that many forces are not conducting IOD reviews whilst a few are. Late in 2016 we understand that the Metropolitan Police have ceased reviews and that Cambridgeshire have largely ceased.
Although numbers are fewer, Pensions Ombudsman determinations still trickle through. The majority of determinations are upheld in the favour of the IOD pensioner and it is apparent from findings of maladministration that the culture within forces, in particular their HR departments, even after so many years and so much criticism seem unable to achieve an acceptable standard.
By the summer of 2017 there have been further developments. The Fisher Judicial Review involving a Northumbria pensioner clarified further aspects and later, during a judicial review process, Merseyside abandoned an unlawful suspension of an IOD pension in a case involving medical records and information demanded by the force in their IOD review questionnaire, thus clarifying further points of issue. In an unexpected development, Avon and Somerset suddenly ceased their planned review programme apparently following the lead of the Metropolitan Police and Cambridgeshire. Elsewhere it appears that Staffordshire intend to continue with a mass review programme. Northumbria, we understand, will continue to pursue IOD pension reviews. Derbyshire indicated that they would commence a review programme in the spring of 2017 but nothing further is known by mid summer IODPA, the dedicated police injury on duty organisation set up by IOD ex officers has assimilated the pioneering work of the pensioners who successfully opposed HOC46/2004 and continues to grow. The organisation which is awaiting full charitable status is now involved in a wide spectrum of IOD issues and increasingly includes issues affecting serving officers.
IODPA now has charity status and the association is growing and becoming very proactive. Although the overall situation remains relatively quiet, the legal challenges continue. Current developments will shape how future reviews are administered and conducted with a recent Employment Court ruling that Section 61 Employment Act 2010 applies to IOD pensions. There are also data protection considerations and IODPA are exploring how we are affected by developments. The provision of medical records and other information has been clarified. Police Pension Authorities have previously demanded information usually in the form of a questionnaire accompanied by the threat to cancel the IOD pension if the pensioner does not comply. Following a recent Merseyside case, it is likely that pensioners will be adopting a very robust stance in opposing demands for information. The Information Commissioner has also recently ruled in relation to medical records held by forces and, as a result, many IOD’s have requested that their forces return any medical records that they hold.
For injured ex police officers the uncertainty and anxiety continues.
There has been no indication that the Home Office will be issuing further guidance at present.
This website works in support of IODPA and other IOD organisations and is the focus for former officers affected by these issues. Opposition to the seriously flawed policies which have caused such harm will continue until our injury pensions are treated fairly, in accordance with regulations and with proper regard for the welfare of men and women who have lost their careers owing to their injuries