NARPO Chelmsford June Newsletter
I have started this Newsletter on the day of the Local Elections because there is a need to get something down on paper before my wife and I go on holiday to Italy on the 22 May. We will be away until 4 June therefore it will be published and sent out by Roy Scanes on 1 June as usual. One good thing is we will miss the majority of the last three weeks of campaigning for the General Election!
The Branch AGM was held on 10 April at the Sports Pavilion HQ where we had hoped that a few more members might attend, however the only stalwarts that ventured out (apart from the Committee Members) were Geoff Markham, Bob Storey and Des McGarr so thanks to them for taking an interest.
The Chairman, Secretary and Committee often discuss whether we meet the needs of our Members and have to assume, in the absence of anything to the contrary, that Members are satisfied. If this is not the case then please write to the Secretary with any concerns/observations/suggestions. One reason for me posing this question is the fact that we embarked on sharing a website where we post a lot of information that we believe may be useful to Members but we have no idea whether it is useful or not. There is a cost of maintaining the website therefore any views (positive or negative) would help the Committee decide whether we continue to provide the facility. Our Chairman Bob GOOD touches on these and other issues I may have mentioned in his Chairman’s report to Members further on in this Newsletter.
I have for some time included in the Newsletter details of items received by the Secretary that may be of interest to Members. My difficulty now is that the majority of these items which contain deals for
consumer goods and deals on holidays etc. are often time critical and therefore have been posted on the website after email notification by the Secretary to those Members with the facility. This leaves me wondering how else we can be of use to the gradually decreasing number of Members who have no computer. As technology progresses I think as a Branch we will have to debate the most effective means of communicating to our Members and maybe the standard Newsletter will no longer be the main means of contacting Members to keep everyone updated (there are no plans to discontinue the Newsletter – these are purely my thoughts at this time) I know I have asked many times before but once again this is an area where any suggestions from Members would be helpful. Furthermore one way to help make the Newsletter more interesting could be to include short articles from Members.
Likewise I always include details of deaths of Members and colleagues since the publication of the previous Newsletter and I will continue to do this however to reiterate my previous comments Obituary details are now also contained on our Website.
I turn now to those other items commencing with the aforementioned Chairman’s Report.
Chairman’s Report to Members:
“The tragic events in London on 22nd March, which resulted in the death of Constable Keith Palmer and others, are a reminder of how difficult and dangerous the role of a police officer can be. Your Chelmsford Branch Committee decided to make a modest donation to the fund set up to support Pc Palmer’s family and we wish them all the best for the future.
My thanks go to those members who were able to attend our AGM on 10th April and plans are afoot to encourage more members to attend next year. The meeting resulted in Roy Scanes being formally elected as our Branch Secretary. I am pleased that our former Secretary, Graham Furnival, is still with us as a Committee Member. All other Officers and Committee Members remain unchanged.
Colleagues will have received a letter from the Essex and Kent Payroll Manager in late April or early May setting out your pension increases from 10th April 2017. In my own case after taking into account the 1% increase, according to the letter; my resulting pension was considerably lower than that I received the previous year! After a few quick phone calls to colleagues I established that I was not the only pensioner in that situation.
On your behalf, I immediately raised the matter with the Pensions Manager, annoyingly someone else replied on his behalf and said, ‘The letters that were sent with regards the 1% pension increase were incorrect, new letters are being drafted and will be sent as soon as possible.’ I was also assured that actual payments to pensioners were correct.
I again wrote to the ‘Pensions Manager’ and asked what checks were made before the letters were despatched and what steps they are taking to prevent a reoccurrence. I am pleased to say that I received a very prompt response, from the Manager himself, which explained in some detail what had gone wrong. Their attempt to personalise the issue by sending letters, instead of putting a note on the pay-slip as in previous years, suffered a malfunction within the processing stage and rather ‘backfired’. I am encouraged that they have now put a checking process in place which should help to prevent future errors. In addition, I was asked to, ‘please accept and pass on my apologies for this avoidable error.’
Reports that there has been a lot of feedback from Members concerning Membership of the National Trust therefore I attach the details received below;
Make the most of your weekends and join the National Trust.
Enjoy hundreds of unforgettable days out.
A special two months free deal on new memberships is being offered when you pay by annual Direct Debit.
Family Group (2 adults & under 18s)
Family One Adult (1 adult & under 18s)
Young Person (13 – 25)
The National Trust offers senior memberships for those who have been members for at least five of the previous ten years and are over the age of 60. For further information see: National Trust Senior Membership Prices
Please note that the above offer is not available in conjunction with the senior membership prices.
Injury Award Reviews
The Secretary refers below to an excerpt from our National NARPO website at Wakefield regarding ‘Injury Award Reviews’. He states that at present Essex Police have not begun to review all injury awards but if other forces have started it may become a reality for Essex also therefore if any affected Member does get a review and does not know what to do then please contact him ASAP. The Essex Police Federation are still obliged to assist under current Federation Rules and he would be able to present an individual’s case for representation and if necessary funding for legal advice/representation.
Injury Award Reviews and Funding
We are aware that some Forces are currently conducting Injury Award Reviews under Regulation 37 Police [Injury Benefit] Regulations 2006.
The recent FISHER v Northumbria case reinforces previous case law when determining the ‘uninjured’ earnings capacity, when carrying out a review under Regulation 37; and we would remind members of the TURNER case, which concluded that:
The SMP is not entitled to take into account jobs which were previously available to the pensioner (even if not considered at the last review) or which the pensioner had previously carried out since these jobs cannot be evidence of a change in the pensioner’s degree of disablement.
The SLATER case is also relevant in that it concluded:
That reviews at a CRA must relate to the individual circumstances of the officer. This means the blanket National Average Earnings figures cannot be used to cut pensions
We have recently been in contact with the National Police Federation regarding support and funding issues for our Members, including the matters of legal advice and representation.
Whilst the National position is that the Federation will support cases involving retired officers but legal advice and representation will only be granted based on the merits of each individual case. This same process now exists for serving officers.
We have become aware that some local Police Federations have decided that they will not assist or support retired members involved in this process in any way and will not forward any claim forms requesting funding from the National Police Federation.
In view of this we would advise our Members to approach their local Police Federation in the first instance to seek their support, advice and funding. Thankfully, we are grateful to the majority of local Police Federations who are still willing to support retired members in accordance with Federation rules.
If this is not forthcoming, the Member has the option of contacting their local NARPO Branch and/or NARPO HQ for advice and assistance and we will do our best to advise you in challenging the decision yourself.
If these options are not available, or appropriate, or if you prefer, you can seek your own legal advice at your own expense. We appreciate this is not ideal, but we have liaised with a specialist firm of Solicitors who can assess the circumstances of an individual’s case and give the appropriate advice at a fixed fee. They are Haven Solicitors.
However, it is a Member’s choice to decide if they wish to take legal advice and which firm they choose to instruct on their behalf.
Members and former Colleagues who have died since the last Newsletter
- Former Constable David John ROUT who died on 7 February 2017 aged 67 years
- Former Constable Geoffrey COUSINS who died on 16 February 2017 aged 71 years
- Former Superintendent David BENNETT who died on 2 February 2017 aged 84 years
- Former Inspector John BADDELEY who died on 16 February 2017 aged 76 years
- Former Sergeant Phillip CHINA who died on 28 February 2017 aged 92 years
- Former Sergeant Jean SEAGER who died on 19 February 2017 aged 57 years
- Former Sergeant Kenneth RADLEY who died on 19 February 2017 aged 84 years
- Former Inspector William David WATTS who died on 10 March 2017 aged 83 years
- Former Inspector Brian TARGRASS who died on 25 March 2017 aged 73 years
- Former Constable Leslie JONES who died on 20 March 2017 aged 90 years
- Former Sergeant Derek POLLARD who died on 11 April 2017 aged 83 years
- Former Constable Ramon Henry CLARK who died on 25 April 2017 aged 82 years
- Former Sergeant Laurence Raymond LITTLE who died on 9 May 2017 aged 81 years
- Former Constable Stephen FARMER who died on 7 May 2017 aged 65 years
Most of the other items received by the Branch relate to Consumer Items and details of these, which are often time critical, can only be posted on the Website. May I suggest to all our Members without computers or access to the internet (and please this is not meant to be patronising) that it may benefit some of you if you can persuade family members to check the website for you from time to time.