Police under fire for falling prey to compensation culture

Industry news roundup: week ended 20 May 2013:

It’s a bad week to be a copper, as police have been under fire for engaging in what some critics have called spurious personal injury compensation claims.

Now I know I may be going out on a bit of a limb here, but I’m sure that most of you will agree here that police officers have an inherently dangerous job that requires putting themselves in harm’s way in order to uphold the public trust. No one would bat an eye if police personnel injured while apprehending a criminal was given compensation for his or her injuries – but when it comes to injuries that seem rather insignificant, you can’t avoid a news story about a constable ending up thousands of pounds richer for what could otherwise be a completely trumped-up charge.

There’s plenty of examples of this lately; one of the most egregious is how an officer from the South Yorkshire Police somehow fell and broke his own leg right outside his police station during the winter. Apparently this clumsiness was worth £8,000 in personal injury compensation, and while I can certainly see how the police personnel in charge of gritting that particular stretch of pavement outside their doors failed miserably in their job, awarding £8,000 seems a bit pricey for just a broken leg.

Now, slipping on ice is one thing, but this next story is a whole other animal. One Hampshire Police officer also received almost £5,000 after she cut her thumb on a window. PC Kerry Ann Taylor had been at least hard at work at the time, as she had been cleaning up cannabis plants and equipment related to their cultivation at a house located in Southsea when she decided to throw open a window to get some fresh air; unfortunately as she fiddled with a sealed window in an attempt to open it, she sent her right hand right through it.

The thin latex gloves PC Taylor had been wearing in order to handle the cannabis plants did absolutely nothing to protect her fingers from sharp, broken glass, and she suffered a nasty cut. Apparently this cut was bad enough to warrant a £5,000 compensation payout – mostly because a Winchester County Court judge felt that the police should have issued her thicker gloves that would have protected her from harm in the off chance that she ran into something sharp – like a closed and sealed window, perhaps?

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