Policing: ill Health versus Capability Dismissal

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As a Federation rep I have had the responsibility of representing and advising officers on ill health retirement and appeals processes. My usual advice to officers wanting to seek ill health retirement is this;

Your chances of success are low. Around about 25% presently. There is little point trying for an ill health retirement pension unless you have tried every possible treatment available for your condition, in order to be considered as permanently disabled,even if your own GP or Consultant hasn’t recommended or even offered the treatment. Because you can guarantee the SMP or Appeal board will deny you are permanently disabled without having tried it. 

Even having exhausted every possible pill, experimental therapy and ancient tribal medicine from the far reaches of Peru, your chances of being deemed as having a permanent disability and therefore eligible for ill health retirement, are still only as good as a flutter on a roulette wheel.

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Capability Dismissal is now being pitched as a tool that will be used on the ‘minority of officers’, to plug a gap that exists where officers are not eligible for ill health retirement. It is being claimed that only a mere fraction of disabled officers will be affected.

This I am sure, is said with absolute belief in this statement, however, unless the ill health pension implications above are fully understood, reviewed and rectified, this will absolutely not be the case. In fact, there is potential in the future for this to apply to the ‘vast majority’ of disabled officers.

If ill health retirement rates remain at approximately 25% success rate (PFEW estimations), the other 75% of officers who are unsuccessful will surely be walking the lonely trail into the deep dark depths of dismissal from the Police service. It is not inconceivable that 100% of those officers will be disabled.

Our focus must now turn to the second half of the Limited Duties regulations, Capability Dismissal.

This is where the real threat lies to Disabled Officers. At least with an ‘X factor’ pay reduction, ‘they’ only manage to chew off a small piece, but you still manage to get away to fight another day. You will still have a job. It may require some very tough lifestyle changes, but for most it will be achievable.

Capability Dismissal on the other hand would see you dismissed from your force on the grounds of your ‘capability’ to perform the role of the office of Constable, having not been eligible for ill health retirement.

If ill health retirement isn’t addressed soon, Capability dismissal won’t just chew a piece off, it will swallow you whole.

Extracted in part from a blog posted by the Disabled Police Association National Secretary

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Reasons Not To Privatize The Feds: Part Two

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Going Country

More and more, city gangs are sending young runners out into the sticks to sell crack and heroin. We spoke to dealers, sex workers and police to get a better understanding of how the whole thing works.

As commuters arrive into Britain’s major cities from their homes in the shires, a different kind of commuter is travelling the opposite direction. They’re more likely to be young and wearing trainers, tracksuits and puffer jackets. Most of them generate more cash each day than their city-bound counterparts. The tools of their trade are a cheap mobile phone, a bag of class A drugs and a knife.

Last week, the National Crime Agency released its second report into the growing phenomenon known as “going country” – city drug gangs sending young runners to sell crack and heroin in market or coastal towns. The report found that these were no occasional day trips: over 180 urban drug dealing gangs have expanded into the jurisdictions of three quarters of British police forces.

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Going country, or “OT” (out there), is not an entirely new phenomenon. Gangs from the big four UK drug hubs – London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool – have been sending dealers to sell in less crowded areas since the rise of the highly profitable crack selling business, and of mobile phones, in the 1990s. The drug trade in Ipswich, Suffolk, for example, has been dominated by London gangs since 2003.

 HAINE, LAYet, in the last decade, across Britain the trickle has turned into a flood. Using motorways and trains, city gangs have expanded their reach far and wide, beyond the commuter belt, from Devon and Gloucestershire to Humberside and Scotland. London gangs – the most prolific of them all – have taken over the trade across the south of England: in west country towns such as Swindon, Melksham, Aylesbury, Bournemouth and Yeovil; in southern towns such as Hastings, Eastbourne, Worthing, Tunbridge Wells, Margate and Brighton; and in the east, in Colchester, Cambridge, Norwich, Leiston and Bury St Edmonds.

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What’s more, the dealers are getting younger, with children as young as 11 being found selling drugs in areas a world away from the inner city zones they call home. Meanwhile, as the newcomers increasingly discard the old school criminal code of local drug markets, rivalry, enmity and violence intensifies.

Despite recent police and media reports about this phenomenon, little is known about how these gangs operate and the impact they have on “host” towns. In truth, it’s a story about a collision point: where people’s desperation to escape poverty and pain meets head-on with the cold, hard economics of the drug trade.

G4s have demonstrated to the general public just how adept they are at managing national events and the probation service, they clearly aren’t. So where would they find the money for the kind of policing work that throws up this research data? Policing cuts have consequences.

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Reasons Not To Privatize The Feds: Part One

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A Heathrow airport drug smuggling racket importing more than £10million of cocaine into Britain was smashed following a series of dawn raids today.

The drugs, which also included 50 kilos of cannabis, was shipped into the UK in 15 months through the UK’s biggest airport.

Eleven suspects, including one woman and three baggage handlers, were arrested at addresses in and around London and the south east.

Today’s operation follows a number of seizures of drugs at Heathrow over a 15 month period – totalling around 100 kilograms of cocaine and 50 kilograms of cannabis.

The drugs are believed to have been sent by drugs lords based in Brazil for gangs selling on the streets of London. Please note, that these are not necessarily Afro-Carribean gangs, a number of ethnicities (Brazillian, Angolan, Columbian, Dominican,Polish, Romanian,Russian) are now a part of settled communities in London and have been for many years.

Those arrested are aged between 24 and 60 and were detained following the series of coordinated raids involving around 125 investigators from the National Crime Agency.

The operation NCA were assisted by officers from three police forces including the Metropolitan Police.

The suspected drugs ring members were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to import class A drugs and are now being questioned at police stations around London.

The suspects are either linked to the South Americans in the drugs trade or ‘wholesalers’ based in London.  

G4S never stops talking about the money it can save police services but how many plain clothes hours inside & outside of London went into the preparation for this police operation? The face of London has changed, to discover to what extent & make all the necessary links between Columbian criminals & those indigenous to London costs patience, time & wages? Cuts have consequences.

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Ratification Of The Paris Agreement Delayed

Michael Gove on a school visit

It’s now nine months since the COP21 climate treaty was agreed in Paris. At the time,I met the agreement with both celebration and condemnation: it marked an important global moment for collective action on climate change but lacked the ambition and detail on how even a 2ºC target could be met. Many observers recognised that the proof of its success would be in the national policy commitments made by governments and ministers in the months and years that followed.

Other Than That Everything's Perfect

Other Than That Everything’s Perfect

Importantly, the Paris agreement will not enter into force until 55 countries representing 55% of total global emissions have ratified it. As it stands, 26 states have completed this, totalling 39.06 % of total global greenhouse gas emissions. Notably, this includes China and the United States, who last week jointly announced their ratification of the Paris Agreement, marking a very important step in the treaty’s journey.

Sadly, the UK has dawdled on Paris ratification and has not yet made any announcement of when it intends to do so. Since December, the stock response of both the Prime Minister and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (and formerly the Department for Energy and Climate Change) has been that the government will do so ‘as soon as possible’.

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In Parliament today, I asked the Prime Minister if she will commit to ratifying the agreement before the follow up negotiations in November of this year. She sidestepped the question and refused to give a firm date. With 2016 set to be the hottest year on record, this casual approach is at odds with ever more serious warnings about the severity of the climate crisis.

At the national level, it has been a terrible year for climate and energy policy. With the ongoing reckless obsession with fracking, the failure to embrace energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority, and the delay in new subsidy announcements for offshore wind, it should come as no surprise that the Committee on Climate Change announced in June that the government lacks half the policies it needs to meet its 2030 emissions targets.

Indeed, it is clear that UK energy and infrastructure policy is going in completely the wrong direction – cutting support for renewables and efficiency, locking in high-carbon gas for decades to come, and squandering taxpayers’ money on new nuclear and runways.

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In a further sign of government neglect, yesterday, the new Minster for Climate Change, announced a probable delay in the publication of the vital Carbon Plan. The plan will detail how the UK will meet its targets under the Climate Change Act. This delay comes at a time when the UK’s attractiveness as a destination for investment in renewable energy has reached an all-time low. The responsibility for this lies solely with chaotic and unpredictable government policy. The dismal failure of the Treasury and the Energy Department to halt the potentially catastrophic Business Rate rises to schools, businesses and community organisations with solar panels on their rooftops is a further example of that.

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Without a global step change in ambition, global temperatures will likely rise by 3.7°C and beyond. The consequences of this kind of change are unimaginable – indeed, we do not know the full implications of breaching planetary boundaries in this way. As a nation with an historic responsibility for carbon emissions, as well as the skills, expertise and resources to help create the solutions, the UK must take responsibility.

Delaying the ratification of the Paris Agreement – never mind dodging the ongoing questions about how we meet our own carbon reduction targets – demonstrates a dangerous and reckless approach to the most important issue of our time.

With much of the real detail of the Paris agreement being discussed at the follow-up COP22 negotiations in Marrakech in November, it would send all the wrong signals for the UK to turn up without having ratified it.

(This is an excerpt from Caroline Lucas MP’s blog)

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