DPA Vice-Chair responds to PAT and Home Secretary decision on restricted duties

DPA Vice-Chair Andy Garrett’s recent communication to Metropolitan Police Disability Staff Association members and Intranet communication. This communication will explain the wider picture at present in relation to the recent decision made by the Home Secretary.

“DSA members,

Below is our DSA response at this time, to the growing number of understandable enquiries on this subject from members. Apologies that I (Andy Garrett) am unable to give a personalised response to every similar enquiry. As you can imagine I am inundated and don’t have unlimited time for this important work on behalf of restricted officers.

Of course there are and will be lots of questions, as this proposal develops and perhaps comes into the reality of a formal (deployability assessment) process in each police force. To date with the limited evidence of federation support & comms in this space, DSA & DPA are working extremely hard as you see below.

Clearly more volunteers need to step forward to help us with the wider programme of activity (supporting getting this right and fair if it is indeed implemented) that we are engaged with at Met & National level.

Your enquiry on this topic echoes some of the many questions DSA/DPA have been raising at strategic levels ever since the Winsor report & its recommendations were published & we continue to lobby at every level in the interests of fairness and equality act compliance. These issues are far more complex than the simple x-factor recommendation wording that is causing so much concern & we believe, based on our understanding of the legal issues, that the scope & application in practice if this is brought into regulations, may not be as broad as feared.

Forces will have to show much more evidence on a case by case basis of their supporting action (through reasonable adjustments) aimed at enabling restricted officers wider deployability, before they could objectively justify a move to reduce pay. There are still many options open to forces to improve officer deployability that have not to date been properly explored.

DSA & our national affiliate DPA sadly have no funding at all other than that funding our full time advisor role in the Met (even this is under review). We hold no budget so are unable to pay for counsels legal advice, leaving this route as the premise of the federation who we all know from reading the RSA review (of PFEW), are still somewhat lacking with regard to supporting disability. We hope this position will improve if PFEW take up RSA recommendations to engage effectively with Staff Support Associations

As Met DSA Chair & Vice-Chair of the (national) Disabled Police Association I am working with the Chief Exec of the Business Disability Forum & their legal director to put forward proposals to ACPO & College of Policing around improving the approach to managing disability in the police service. Our joint paper on this subject should be submitted today.

Please be assured DSA & DPA will do everything we can to ensure appropriate support is given to restricted officers and that adjustments are rightly explored to enable effective ‘deployability’ whatever that comes to be defined as. We have tabled the potential risks attached to this reform and yet still we anticipate a spike in litigation cases challenging this action if it is brought into being (on a case-by-case basis) and disabled officers suffer a cut in pay which may not be ‘objectively justified’ as a ‘proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’.

Kind regards

Andy Garrett”