Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Former Cop Was 'Robbed of Pension'

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Former Cop Was 'Robbed of Pension'

Article excerpt

Byline: LISA HUTCHINSON

PENSIONER Bryan Simpson is the shadow of the man he once was when he was a serving Northumbria Police officer. But the feisty 76-year-old is taking on the Home Office and Northumbria Police Authority at the London Appeal Court in a bid to protect the livelihoods of thousands of retired police officers across the country.

Their pensions could hinge on a test case brought by Mr Simpson whose pension rights were drastically slashed 31 years after he left the service.

And he is determined to lead the way for others who are being "robbed of their pension". Today Bryan, of Westerhope, Newcastle, said: "We are not out of woods yet but I am pleased with the result at the Court of Appeal. We just want to obtain justice in the end."

The changes to the pensions were introduced by Northumbria Police on the back of Home Office guidelines.

But many forces including London's Metropolitan Police, decided they would not apply the new rules retrospectively to retired officers already claiming their injury pension.

However, Northumbria Police decided to follow the guidelines and the cost-cutting measures meant hundreds of former Northumbria Police officers had their pensions reduced - some by more than half.

Mr Simpson was a police constable with Northumbria Police for 29 years until he was medically retired in November 1988.

He joined the Northumbria Police Force in 1959, but had to retire early in 1988 because the Police Authority "decided he was permanently disabled from being able to perform the duties of a police officer", said his QC, David Lock, at the Appeals Court in London.

His disabilities were caused by back injuries which stemmed from his service as a police officer, said the barrister.

Mr Simpson was awarded a police injury pension at the rate of 30% disablement, and periodic reviews confirmed the award until he suffered a major setback in February 2009.

His injury pension entitlement was then dropped from "Band 2" to "Band 1" - effectively halving his income - his solicitor, Ron Thomson, said. …

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