The limited duties scheme is provided for by Regulation 22 and 28A and the determination at Annex EE of Police Regulations 2003. The scheme came into effect on 1 April 2015.
Home Office circular 010/2015, which published Annex EE, also published supporting guidance to forces as well as the Home Office Equality Impact Assessment.
‘Limited duties’ is the term used to describe some circumstances in which officers may be unable to undertake the full range of police duties. There are three categories of limited duties:
- Recuperative duties
- Adjusted duties
- Management restricted duties
- Recuperative Duties is defined as duties falling short of full deployment,undertaken by a police officer following an injury, accident, illness or medical incident, during which the officer adapts to and prepares for a return to full duties and the full hours for which they are paid, and is assessed to determine whether he or she is capable of making such a return.
- Adjusted Duties is defined as duties falling short of full deployment, in respect of which workplace adjustments (including reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010) have been made to overcome barriers to working. For an officer to be placed on adjusted duties, s/he must:
a) be attending work on a regular basis;
b) be working the full number of hours for which he/she is paid (in either a full time or part time role).
- Management Restricted Duties is defined as duties to which an officer is allocated in circumstances in which:
a) verifiable confidential or source sensitive information or intelligence has come to the notice of the force that questions the suitability of an officer to continue in his or her current post; and/or
b) serious concerns are raised which require management actions, both for the protection of individuals and the organisation;
In either case also that:
c) criminal or misconduct proceedings are not warranted; and
d) the Chief Constable has lost confidence in the officer continuing in their current role.
Adjusted duties: force wide assessment
Before allocating an officer to the adjusted duties category, the guidance sets out that all forces must undertake a force-wide assessment. They should ensure they have a clear understanding of:
- The level of demand/operational requirement including contingency for periods of exceptional demand and to meet statutory requirements under the Strategic Policing Requirement;
- The resources needed to meet that demand including the number of fully deployable officers; and
- Which officers are deployable, for what range of duties, at what times.
Forces must develop this understanding before they can begin to implement these provisions. Forces must regularly review their workforces against the operational requirements and changing local and national priorities.
Twelve month review
Officers will be assessed one year after being placed on adjusted duties. If it is concluded that an officer should remain on adjusted duties the person(s) who conducted the review should make a recommendation to the delegated authority nominated by the chief officer as to whether the officer:
- Remains on adjusted duties; and
- Sustains a deduction in pay (by the removal of the deployment component of the police officer x-factor).
Annex EE states that the delegated authority is defined as a person holding the rank of Assistant Chief Constable or equivalent or above.
On receipt of an individual recommendation, the delegated authority will use his/her discretion to decide on a case-by-case basis, whether or not an officer should sustain such a reduction in pay. Any decision must take account of the Equality Act 2010 as well as the operational requirements of the force at that time (i.e. whether or not the range of roles that can be undertaken by the force is significantly reduced).
The guidance issued to forces states that the application of chief officer discretion in relation to pay adjustment decisions is in no way intended as a substitute for consideration of whether a disabled officer would suffer a substantial disadvantage in comparison to a non-disabled officer as a result of a provision, criteria or practice put in place by the force.
A chief officer may decide that the deployment component of the x-factor should be retained in the following circumstances:
a. The range of roles to which the force is able to deploy the officer is not significantly reduced
b. The avoidance of manifest unfairness e.g. where fully fit officers are performing the same range of duties within a role as an officer on adjusted duties
c. An officer is on adjusted duties solely as the result of an injury sustained or contracted in the course of having put himself or herself in harm’s way in the execution of his/her duties (see Annex A of the guidance for examples)
d. Some other exceptional reason. (Some examples of what would not generally be considered exceptional are provided in Annex A of the guidance but the decision about what is classed as an exceptional reason should be made locally. NB. The Federation has asked for Annex A to be reviewed as some of the examples given have caused confusion)
An officer has the right to appeal the decision to reduce his/her pay, to the chief officer of police. The appeal should be heard by a different person from the person who made the decision that a pay deduction was appropriate. Forces should have developed their own policy on how this will work.
Grounds for appeal are:
- Abuse of process
- Perverse decision
For more information on limited duties see the Hub, the PFEW extranet for reps, for the following documents:
Limited duties national guidance, published under HOC 010/2015
- JBB Circular 16/2015
- PFEW FAQs
At the time of writing, the NPCC are working on proposals for a new method to remove officers who cannot, with adjustments, be accommodated in force, as it would impact on the overall resilience of the force. It is anticipated that this would be a measure of last resort. The matter is currently under discussion at the Police Advisory Board (PAB), and when more is known this will be published in a Circular. It is advisable to check the Research and Policy Support pages of the Hub for updates, as minutes from PAB meetings are published there.
Produced and issued by Research and Policy Support PFEW HQ - created August 2016