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Legal Background

The Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 make payable a pension for life to ex-officers who have become permanently disabled as a result of injuries sustained in the execution of their duty. This is in addition to their Police Pension. Injury Benefit is intended to compensate them for loss of potential future earnings because of their injury. Claimants are subject to assessment by a SMP acting on behalf of the Force. Successful claimants can be awarded a gratuity plus pension. The level of gratuity and pension depends on the degree of disablement as assessed by the SMP, together with the length of the individual's service. 

There are four levels of award. Band 1 (slight disablement) is for 25% disablement or less. Band 2 (minor disablement) is for more than 25% but not more than 50% disablement. Band 3 (major disablement) is for more than 50% but not more than 75% disablement. Band 4 (very severe disablement) is for more than 75% disablement. Under the Regulations, individuals have various rights of appeal if they disagree with the SMP's decision.

Regulation 37(1) states that the police pension authority shall, at such intervals as may be suitable, consider whether the degree of the pensioner's disablement has altered.  If after such consideration the Police Pension Authority (PPA) finds that the degree of the pensioner's disablement has substantially altered, the pension shall be revised accordingly. The word "shall" means that this is not merely a power, but a duty on the police pension authority to consider whether the degree of each pensioner's disablement has altered. The frequency of this is at the PPA's discretion.

If the individual fails to submit to medical examination or fails to attend the SMP's appointment, Regulation 33 enables the Police Pension Authority to determine on such evidence and medical advice as in her discretion she thinks necessary, to withhold or reduce the individual's Injury Pension (*see admin process above).

The administration, assessment and reassessment of Injury Benefit is subject to not only the relevant Regulations, but also Home Office Circulars and case law (principally decisions by the High Court and the Pension's Ombudsman). The reassessment process may therefore alter as a result of any changes in law.