Jump to content

Ex-officers lose judicial review on reduction in their injury pensions


Recommended Posts

Staffordshire Police says High Court ruling provides 'welcome clarity' to pension regulations.


Chief constable Gareth Morgan

Date - 21st September 2020
By - Gary Mason

Eighteen former officers have had their judicial review of Staffordshire Police’s policy in reducing their injury pension payments dismissed by the High Court.

The former officers brought the action over the force’s policy on reviewing each officer's injury periodically to ensure their banding level has not changed by contacting the individual and asking for medical records. 

Staffordshire Police said it has written to all claimants on more than one occasion since January 2019 to “offer them the opportunity to provide relevant information relating to their current medical condition and capacity for work, so that their pensions may be reviewed and paid at the appropriate level”.

The legal challenge was over the interpretation of ‘refusal to be medically examined’ in the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006.

Following the dismissal of the case the force said in a statement:  “The claims were complex and involved significant scrutiny of the force’s administration of injury pension reviews since 2017. The force’s approach to the Claimants’ cases has been upheld by the High Court as justified and lawful.

“Staffordshire Police welcomes the clarity that this ruling brings, for how it and other police forces administer injury pension reviews, and for individuals who are subject to these reviews. The force recognises that this has been a difficult and challenging process for all involved. The Court’s decision noted the efforts made by the Chief Constable’s staff, who sought to reassure pensioners and answer questions and arguments about the review process as it progressed.”

Pensions paid to injured former officers under the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 consist of a lump sum award and an ongoing payment. This is separate to a police officer’s occupational pension and any state benefits that may be received regarding injuries.

In relation to the ongoing payments, these vary between four different “bands” depending on the extent to which the duty injury continues to cause a loss of earning capacity. This is determined by an independent medical practitioner.

Staffordshire Police said that the regulations place a duty upon the Chief Constable, acting as the Police Pension Authority for Staffordshire Police, to consider at suitable intervals whether the degree of a pensioner’s disablement has altered.

It added that the review process started by the chief constable in 2017 “is a fair and transparent process which ensures that recipients continue to receive the appropriate level of injury benefit and that public money is used most effectively.”

On 26 November 2018, Chief Constable Gareth Morgan wrote to 19 injury benefit recipients to advise them of the outcome of their reviews. The force has confirmed that two individuals had their benefits maintained and a decision was made to reduce the injury benefit payments of 17 individuals “in line with the evidence available.”

When the former officers launched their case earlier this year Staffordshire Police Federation Secretary, Glyn Pattinson, said the regulations are open to interpretation as to how the review process should work.

“And over the recent years, there's a number of forces which have tried to do these reviews and it's fair to say they are a legal nightmare. Everyone's got different interpretations, I think Merseyside, Northumbria, Avon and Somerset have tried historically to do them and it’s ended up in a mess so they’ve gone ‘we're not doing it anymore, we're not reviewing them’.

“It becomes a really subjective, difficult area.”

View On Police Oracle

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I appreciate this subject force some would have had their payments reduced and can understand why they may not want that to happen. Equally, had their conditions deteriorated further, would they have been so reluctant to have been offered an increase on their payments over time.  Again, in policing it seems a case of doomed if you do and doomed if you don't.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...