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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