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£144,000 police injury payout

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  • by Claire Lewis
 

A bobby who slipped on black ice, and another who fell down stairs, together received almost £10,000 in compensation - just two of 31 payouts totalling at least £144,000 at South Yorkshire Police in five years.

One officer received £1,500 for bruised and swollen fingers after a colleague slammed a van door shut on a hand, and the same amount of cash was paid to an officer who leaned backwards in a chair, snapping the back rest and falling to the floor.

But compensation was denied to an officer whose arms were burned using a stinger device intended to burst tyres during police pursuits. And nothing was paid to a policeman who claimed compensation after breaking a leg while trying to force entry to a house in a raid.

Neil Bowles, chairman of the South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation which represents rank and file officers, said the claims illustrate police work is ‘inherently more dangerous’ than other occupations.

“Police officers are trained to go towards danger when others walk away,” he said.

“They need to know that, if they get injured in the line of duty, the law will look after them.”

The figures - revealed as part of The Star’s Your Right to Know campaign, which shines a light on the hidden facts and figures that affect readers’ everyday lives - do not make clear if claims were sustained in the line of duty, or simply by staff in their day-to-day work in police stations.

Nor do they explain why some claims were settled and others were not.

One officer had a claim turned down for injuries caused during an incident involving an incapacitant spray.

Another was denied compensation for the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome - pain in the hand and wrist - which they said was caused by using police equipment on a daily basis.

But £2,250 was paid to a police worker who tripped on a rolled-up mat - and £1,500 was given to an employee who suffered insect bites while working on police premises.

One employee received £18,000 after falling off a wall, and another was paid £3,145 for breaking bones tripping over a door-stop in a police lobby.

Almost £13,000 was paid to an employee who fell through a loft, and £3,000 to a female whose hand was stabbed by a used hypodermic needle.

An unknown amount was paid to an officer whose eye and forehead were injured after they were hit by a spent cartridge during rifle training.

One officer received £30,000 after tearing ligaments in a training exercise, while another got £9,000 after damaging a knee during training.

The claims - all paid from a ring-fenced pot of cash managed by the Police and Crime Commissioner - were all settled between the years 2008 and 2012.

Among them were two lodged for police dog bite injuries - one employee was paid £2,500, and another £3,085.

“Policing is inherently more dangerous than some occupations, and we have powers that involve the lawful use of force,” Mr Bowles said.

“Police officers should have the same rights and protections in law as any other individual in society.

“Some injuries can lead to officers not being fit enough to return to frontline duties, which means the loss of a career - and the financial consequences of that can be devastating.

“Although I talk about officers, there are some public-facing police staff members in harm’s way as well, like PCSOs and Detention Officers.”

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “Police officers and staff are entitled to the same rights as other workers, and are entitled to claim compensation for injuries sustained at work.”

 

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