In 1954, a West Yorkshire Police Sergeant was viciously attacked by a thug wearing steel toe capped boots. He was kicked nearly to death and received injuries to his neck, back and abdomen. He was hospitalised for a considerable period but was determined to return to the job he loved. It took the sergeant six months before he was fit again to resume duty but he did so. He continued to provide protection to the people of West Yorkshire until another serious injury at work worsened the original injuries and forced his early retirement in 1973 when he was granted an injury award with a disability of 75%. The sergeant has heard little from the West Yorkshire Police in respect of this matter for the 36 years since his retirement until this year, when he has been called in for a review of his injury award with a view to reducing him to Band 1, radically affecting his total income.
This bolt out of the blue, at 83 years of age, will force a very serious rethink of the former sergeant's finance and will seriously affect his future lifestyle. This officer is not alone as West Yorkshire imposes a draconian policy on elderly infirm former Police Officers injured on duty. One former detective, approaching his seventies and who is dying of cancer, has had his award reduced from £11,291 to £842 per annum leaving him wondering how he can afford to even pay his medical bills.
Similar situations exist in Northumbria and South Wales but in both these forces the reduction seems to be automatic. Those affected are given little or no opportunity to make a case to retain all or part of the award and are simply advised to appeal if they do not like what has happened to them. All these forces seem to see former injured officers as an easy target to claw back money in times of recession but they do so without a thought for the individual concerned. The uncaring policies adopted by these forces are not unique as other forces have introduced policies that owe more to saving cash than to any proper management of the scheme. NARPO continues to oppose these radical changes of force policies. We continue to support members affected and to remind Police Authorities of the high level of discretion they have in both the timing and regularity of reviews.
See 'Press Releases' at www.narpo.org
Since this article was first published South Wales have changed their policy towards the over 65 year olds in receipt of an injury award but continue to reduce those on this award at age 65 to the lowest payment level.
Clint Elliott QPM