Star reveals South Yorkshire Police payouts

Police Fedeartion chairman Neil Bowles, who is based at Maltby Police Station.
Police Fedeartion chairman Neil Bowles, who is based at Maltby Police Station.
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Police in South Yorkshire pocketed more than £20,000 in compensation from their employer over a two-year period.

An officer who suffered swelling when a colleague closed a van door on their hand and another who fell backwards off a faulty chair were among those awarded payouts between 2011 and last year.

Figures obtained by The Star under our Your Right to Know campaign revealed that both employees were given £1,500 each.

The biggest payout – £8,162 – went to a member of staff who slipped on ice and snow on police premises, resulting in a fractured fibula and ligament damage.

Other successful claims included a PC who sustained a knee injury when he was pushed to the floor during a training exercise and another who hurt their back loading concrete bricks into a police van.

The total cost to taxpayers was £21,412 – though police are also able to take action against other businesses and organisations if they are injured while at work.

Forces across the country have come under scrutiny over ‘compensation culture’ after Norfolk WPC Kelly Jones made a claim after tripping over a kerb when investigating a break-in at a petrol station. Last month Home Secretary Theresa May was looking into the issue.

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright said: “If negligence is proven, I believe that police officers on duty should be afforded the same legal protections as other members of staff.”

Since 2011, 34 staff at South Yorkshire Police have lodged compensation claims against their employer and 20 are still outstanding.

So far this year, five cases have been brought forward.

Neil Bowles, chairman of the South Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “It is important to understand that police officers are subject to the same protection of the law as any other individual. So I am heartened by Mr Wright’s comments.

“Officers are paid to take managed risks, to go towards trouble when others flee, but they need to know that they and their family will be financially compensated if things go wrong and they are injured, or worse pay the ultimate price with their lives for the protection of the community.

“The Government has now changed the Personal Injury, as well the Criminal Injury Compensation, system to the detriment of any claimant, so I would not blame anyone from thinking twice about taking those risks.

“I think it was a disgrace the way the Norfolk Officer was hounded for exercising her legal rights.

“Officers will be put on half pay and nil pay if they are off work for six and then 12 months even if injured on duty. They may never be able to return to full front line duties, and there are some more proposals in the pipeline about their pay if they cannot.”