Police paid £300k to injured officers
11:00am Monday 4th March 2013 in News
WILTSHIRE Police have paid out more than £300,000 in compensation to officers and PCSOs injured on the job in the past six years.
Official figures revealed to the Adver under the Freedom of Information Act show a total of £326,253 was given to 33 individuals between 2006 and 2012 for injuries including a dog bite, assault, falls, being stuck with a needle, and exposure to noise.
Wiltshire Police only accept liability for accident injury to staff or officers in any event of proven negligence on behalf of the force and says it cannot reveal many details about the cases as both parties agreed the non-disclosure of any compensation agreement.
The money went to 17 men and 16 women, comprised mainly of regular police officers and staff, plus one special constable and one third party.
During 2012, a total of £48,400 was paid out to six men – three officers, two police staff, one special constable – for one slip, one training injury, one dog bite, one rib or shoulder injury, one arm injury, one foot injury, one workload problem, one lifting injury, one vehicle issue, two back problems, and one stress problem.
A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “As a result of an injury on duty a full investigation is carried out by either health and safety or fully trained accident investigation officers – the level of investigation is dependent on the seriousness or nature of the injury. “The results of the investigation are collated and any losses are considered – present or future.
“Internal legal advice is sought and liability considered and reserves are set, researched and aligned within previous case law.
“A case management conference between all stakeholders takes place – we seek advice from counsel dependant on the level of the injury and/or decision to pursue to court as a significant case.
“In significant cases intelligence packs are produced to go forward to a panel of senior managers or stakeholders for discussion or final decision and recognition if any on liability or negligence on behalf of the force.
“On completion of all claims by way of settlement and/or discontinuance from plaintiff, there are discussions or reports on lessons learnt and if negligence has been recognised, appropriate actions take place for prevention of further incidents reoccurring, ie revise policy procedure accordingly.
“We currently hold an insurance reserve which is reviewed or revised on a quarterly basis.”
The Adver reported in January that police officers were being hit by cars, bitten, kicked and punched while fighting crime in Swindon and Wiltshire. They also suffered falls from height, were exposed to dangerous body fluids and hurt by animals.
But the number of physical assaults has fallen, with 39 up to September 2011 compared with 48 in the same period a year earlier.
In January 2012, Freedom of Information requests to the 43 police forces in England and Wales, plus the British Transport Police and Civil Nuclear Constabulary, showed they had paid £12,109,426 in damages since 2006 The highest single award was made by Hertfordshire Police who paid £550,000 to a civilian police employee who slipped on ice in a car park and broke an elbow, which led to chronic pain syndrome.