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Limited Duties - what does it mean?

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This document is based on the PFEW FAQ and you should refer to that document for the full wording. You can view the document here

Officers who are subject to limited duties will fall into 3 main categories:

• Recuperative duties
 - where you are recuperating from an injury/illness etc and are working to return to full operational duties.
• Adjusted duties
 - where adjustments have been made under the Equality Act etc to overcome barriers to you remaining in work.
• Management restricted duties - where you are subject to non-health-related restrictions where, despite the fact that criminal/disciplinary action is unwarranted, the force may have lost confidence in you continuing in your current role. This has previously been referred to as a ‘service confidence’ issue. This issue will not be covered in this document and any restriction placed on pregnant or breastfeeding officers is also omitted from this guidance as they should be dealt with by sensible management.

The new process should help to ensure a consistent approach to allocating officers to limited duties. Forces do, though, have discretion as to how they implement this process but they will need to ensure that each officer is assessed individually on a case by case basis, balancing the needs of the individual and the needs of the force.

Forces must have due regard to the Equality Act 2010.

Forces must 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 – it is not sufficient to simply define a narrow group of roles for adjusted duties officers or conversely designate all posts as ‘fully deployable’. Forces must undertake a force wide assessment of operational demand, roles and capabilities of all officers; only then will they be able to map roles and resources across the organisation.

The South Wales Police force is currently undergoing this scoping exercise and we have no idea currently when that will be completed.

Forces must regularly review their workforces against the operational requirements and changing local and national priorities. 

A fully deployable officer will generally demonstrate all the following core capabilities:

a. the ability to sit for reasonable periods, to write, read, use the telephone and to use (or learn to use) IT;

b. the ability to run, walk reasonable distances, and stand for reasonable periods;

c. the ability to make decisions and report situations to others;
d. the ability to evaluate information and to record details;

e. the ability to exercise reasonable physical force in restraint and retention in custody;
f. the ability to understand, retain and explain facts and procedures;

g. the ability to work the full range of shifts (earlies, lates and nights).

The kinds 
of capabilities needed for a role will vary and not all duties will need to be carried out in exactly the same way on all occasions by all officers in the same roles. Officers who cannot demonstrate all the capabilities listed above may still be matched to a substantive police role. Unless a force can demonstrate that a particular officer is impacting on the force’s ability to meet its operational requirements it is difficult to see how a pay reduction could be justified.

We anticipate that forces may develop broad categories of posts using the Police Professional Framework and any local job descriptions/person specifications but postings should be considered on an individual basis taking into account medical evidence on whether the officer is medically fit to perform a role and whether the officer has the skills and capabilities to perform the role with any necessary adjustments.

Whilst the detail of this has been left to forces to determine, the guidance says it must be:

• open, transparent and fair. 

• based on the positive capabilities of individual officers rather than the things they are 
not able to do. 

• considered on a case-by-case basis. 

A disabled officer who is fully deployable must not be placed on adjusted duties.

Where forces can reasonably make adjustments, they must do so.

Forces should approach deployment in a creative way to enable all officers to be deployed in ways that are commensurate to their capabilities by removing barriers and disadvantages wherever it is reasonable to do so. Deployment models in forces will need to go much further than defining a narrow group of roles for adjusted duties officers. Deployment opportunities for adjusted duties officers can be widened through upskilling and retraining and the use of dynamic risk assessments.

For instance in the context of operational resilience it may be appropriate to move a fully deployable officer who occupies a role for instance in investigation, that does not make use of all their individual capabilities, to a frontline role and to post a disabled officer to the other post.

The decision to place you onto adjusted duties should take into account medical evidence and professional advice on matters such as the appropriateness of adjustments and the impact of the Equality Act 2010. If you disagree with the medical advice on whether or not you are ‘fully deployable’ you can ask for a second medical opinion. Within 28 days the force should arrange for you to be examined by a different registered medical practitioner. The second medical opinion will be final.

After nine months on adjusted duties, you must be notified in writing that should you remain on adjusted duties, following your 12 month management review, you may be subject to the loss of the deployability element of the x factor payment.

The value of the x-factor is set at 8% of a basic constable’s pay.

A chief officer may decide that the x-factor should be retained in the following circumstances:

• The range of roles to which the force is able to deploy the officer is not significantly reduced. 

• 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. 

• An officer is on adjusted duties solely as the result of an injury sustained or contracted in the course of having put themselves in harm’s way in the execution of their duties. 

• Some other exceptional reason 

This will be the subject of an annual management review and can be changed accordingly.

If a force decides, in the context of operational resilience, that it cannot reasonably accommodate the adjustments an officer requires then it may be appropriate to consider ill-health retirement. UPP can only be used to deal with performance issues in an officer’s current role; a Chief Constable will need to ensure that any use of UPP will not result in less favourable treatment and detriment for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010. 

Any officer being considered for ill health retirement should not be placed on adjusted duties until the outcome of the IHR considerations is known and if necessary the process outlined in the limited duties guidance has been followed.

Please read this in conjunction with the attached documents but if you have any further queries, please contact the Federation Office at Pencoed.