A West Midlands Police officer received nearly £8,000 compensation from his force after being bitten by fleas while at work.
And the Mail understands the ‘injury’ was sustained at a city police station, which had been infested by the bugs.
The payout is amongst nearly £900,000 of successful claims made by 51 police officers and 16 civilian staff members in the last three years. They include a worker paid £50,000 for a breach of data protection – and £14,000 for injuries sustained by another who had fallen off their pushbike.
The astonishing compensation figures, obtained in a Freedom of Information request, also include a second payment of £1,000 in 2011 for ‘insect bites’.
But Robert Oxley, Campaign Manager of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It’s preposterous that a police officer would be given a payout for an insect bite.
“The crazy compensation culture has got completely out of hand and police chiefs urgently need to clamp down on attempts to play the system.
“Policing is a difficult job that involves officers putting themselves at risk, but claims by some are in danger of undermining the hard work of the majority of officers.’’
The chairman of the city council’s community safety committee, Wazeem Zaffar, added: “At a time of such austerity we have to ensure that the taxpayer is getting value for money.
“I think on the back of these figures the force has to look very carefully at the health safety measures that have been adopted.”
The Lozells and East Handsworth Labour councillor added: “Unfortunately, we are living in a compensation culture and it is likely that the compensation culture has crept into the police force too.”
• Personal injury claims made by West Midlands Police staff between 2009-2012:
|Cause of injury||Payment (£)|
|Bitten by Dog||7,856|
|Bitten by Dog||700|
|Bitten by Dog||4,745|
|Bitten by Dog||6,600|
|Display Screen Equipment||30,000|
|Fell from chair/chair collapsed||7,057|
|Fell from chair/chair collapsed||6,350|
|Fell from cycle||14,073|
|Finger caught in door||1,506|
|Finger caught in door||625|
|Injured by WMP equipment||22,709|
|Injured by WMP equipment||4,418|
|Injured during training||22,025|
|Injured during training||15,216|
|Injured during training||45,000|
|Injured during training||11,101|
|Injured during training||7,097|
|Injured during training||24,607|
|Injured during training||19,514|
|Injury while searching person||4,550|
|Needlestick injury while searching person||2,269|
|Object fell onto claimant||12,570|
|Object fell onto claimant||1,220|
|Object fell onto claimant||3,041|
|Bitten by Dog||6,500|
|Object fell onto claimant||11,215|
|Bitten by Dog||8,150|
|Bitten by Dog||16,700|
|Object fell onto claimant||10,160|
|Data Protection breach||50,001|
|Injured while climbing||34,532|
|Object fell onto claimant||6,329|
|Fell from chair/chair collapsed||2,500|
|Injured during training||17,000|
|Injured detaining suspect||3,700|
|Injured during training||16,750|
But Ian Edwards, Chairman of the West Midlands branch of the Police Federation, said: “Policing is a risky job where injuries can affect your ability earn a living.
“We negotiate deals for insurance policy schemes, but it is up to the individuals and the firms involved to lodge any kind of claims.
“We play no part in the claims, but I suspect that the majority of them are reasonable and wholly appropriate.”
The majority of the 67 compensation cases relate to officers and workers tripping over or suffering dog bites while at work, with the highest claims coming in at £22,000 and £16,000 respectively.
There was also £30,000 payment for a ‘display screen equipment problem’ and £7,000 for injuries suffered by one employee who fell off a chair.
Bizarrely, one case saw a worker paid £600 after being subject to a ‘loud noise’.
Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale said: “Police officers have to enter into situations and locations on a daily basis which can often put them in danger of harm.
“This is a fundamental nature of the job and it is a reality that is accepted by the vast majority of West Midlands Police officers and staff, in order to keep the public they serve safe.
“Like any other employer West Midlands Police take health and safety responsibilities very seriously. Where we fall short, our officers and staff are entitled to lodge claims where they feel appropriate.
“We have robust liability insurance in place, which operates in respect of compensation claims made as a result of injury.
“Details of injuries and compensation payments are often more complex than statistics or brief detail suggest. For example, although an injury might initially be interpreted as minor it may transpire to cause more severe pain and suffering and even long-term or permanent damage.
“Police systems record a brief initial assessment of injury but a full claim file will contain detailed medical reports documenting the period of recovery and future prognosis for the injury sustained.
“Compensation payouts are only made following the assessment of appropriate medical evidence by the in-house legal team, insurers and solicitors who then make a recommendation to the force as to what payment should be made, based on expert knowledge and published case law.”
News published on: http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/officer-won-8000-payout-flea-2769756