§ Lord Bradshaw
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether, when consideration is given to eligibility for ill health retirement under the Police Pensions Regulations, it is appropriate in modern circumstances to require that the applicant should be able to fulfil the full range of duties of a constable. [HL4246]
§ Lord Bassam of Brighton
Under the Police Pensions Regulations an officer may be retired on the grounds of permanent disablement if he or she is unable to perform the "ordinary duties of a male or female member of the force". The term "ordinary duties" is not defined further. In practice, forces have tended to adopt a flexible approach and have normally considered whether an officer is able to carry out sufficient of the duties for the rank concerned to make retention operationally justified.
This approach has, however, been called into question by a determination of the Court of Appeal this year that a police officer's "ordinary duties" should be interpreted to include operational duties. This interpretation may result in more officers being certified to be permanently disabled from performing the ordinary duties of a police officer. Under the regulations it is, however, a matter for the police authority to decide whether or not the officer should be retired on health grounds. If there is a sufficient range of duties that the officer is capable of undertaking, there is no requirement for the police authority to set a date for retirement.
There are, however, clear grounds for amending the current regulations so that it is put beyond doubt that a police officer is not permanently disabled if able to perform a sufficient range of the duties expected of his or her rank. We will be consulting the police service about the precise terms of revised regulations shortly.