- Top compensation payouts for UK forces are mainly for office injuries
- In some forces, top five awards were all for accidents inside police stations
- A number of officers have got damages for falling off broken chairs
- One was hit by a car park barrier, another fell over an open locker door
Thousands of pounds in compensation is being paid out to policemen and women for injuries sustained in the safety of their own offices.
Police injury payouts are usually associated with compensation to brave officers attacked by criminals or injured pursuing offenders.
But large amounts are increasingly being awarded to accident-prone PCs and staff who hurt themselves without ever leaving their police stations.
An officer in Durham pocketed one of the highest office-based payouts when he was received £25,000 for injuring his left knee falling over in a police station corridor.
A force description of the claim states: ‘The claimant was on duty at the police office and was walking along a corridor. As he turned a corner he fell over a number of discarded shutters which had been left on the floor.’
Another officer in the same force received £2,000 after they were hit on the shoulder by a car park barrier behind the police station, while another was given £3,550 after she fell over an open locker door and bumped her head.
Meanwhile in Hertfordshire, a PC was given £16,000 after they injured themselves tripping on the covering of a floor plug socket.
Another officer in the same force was given £2,250 after they fell from a chair which had a broken wheel, while another was awarded £16,385 when they were injured falling from a safety chair during a fire alarm practice.
All four of the forces’ claims this year have related to injuries sustained within the office.
Cumbria Constabulary meanwhile paid £1,000 to one of its employees after an incident described as a ‘chair collapse’.
And in Cleveland, an officer was paid £4,675 for slipping over on a ‘wet patch in the corridor’ and a police worker in Cambridgeshire got £2,627 for tripping on a cable.
HOW SOME POLICE FORCES ARE MORE SECRETIVE THAN OTHERS
While many forces around Britain were open about how much taxpayers’ money they had handed out in compensation, others were less forthcoming.
Wiltshire and South Yorkshire police said they were unable to provide any information on how many claims had been made or how much had been paid.
Thames Valley, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire and Avon and Somerset Police all refused to say how much they had paid out as it could breach data protection rules.
The large payouts for the injuries were revealed by a Freedom of Information request.
The results also showed that many injuries among officers come from police dogs biting their own handlers.
West Yorkshire police handed one officer £17,000 following such an incident and another £12,221, Cleveland paid another £2,520 following a similar issue and Cheshire Constabulary paid out for at least two such injuries from the £192,000 it need to all cover all of compensation claims.
Campaigners have called on public services to reduce the number of compensation claims from staff and concentrate on helping the public.
Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘This is a big bill for taxpayers and when forces are paying out too much in compensation, it means they are under pressure from frivolous claims or simply not providing the care or service expected.
‘It’s crucial that police chiefs put the right processes in place to deliver good services on the one hand and to protect taxpayers from the growing compensation culture on the other.’
THE CASE OF A POLICEWOMAN WHO FELL OVER A KERB PROMPTED A PUBLIC DEBATE ABOUT COMPENSATION CULTURE IN THE POLICE
Fears over a growing compensation culture in the police were raised two years ago when a police officer sued a burglary victim after she tripped on a kerb.
PC Kelly Jones sued garage owner Steve Jones after she fell and injured her leg and wrist in Thetford, Norfolk, while attending a suspected break-in. She later dropped the claim.
Her case prompted a heated public debate, with the police federation insisting it is right that such officers are compensated, but her own police chief constable saying he was ‘disappointed’ by the claim.
It later emerged that, in a similar case, a PC Richard Seymour sued a burglary victim after he allegedly tore his Achilles tendon when he fell into a drain while investigating a break-in in Surrey in 2012.
He sued for ‘loss of overtime’ during his six-month absence from work despite being on full pay.
The case of Kelly Jones prompted Home Secretary Theresa May to order a review of police compensation amid fears it may be deterring victims of crime from coming forward.