A police officer who became an internet hit when he smashed a pensioner’s car window with his baton has been awarded £440,000 in compensation after claiming he was ridiculed out of his job.
PC Mike Baillon, 47, walked out saying that he had become a laughing stock among colleagues.
Footage of him hitting the disabled man’s vehicle 15 times was leaked on YouTube, where it became a global sensation.
The taxpayer-funded cash for constructive dismissal is the equivalent of 12 years’ salary for a PC on the highest pay grade and does not include legal costs. Critics will say it highlights an out-of-control compensation culture in policing.
In comparison, the 74-year-old man whose Range Rover was wrecked was given just £20,000. Robert Whatley said last night: ‘It’s totally unreasonable behaviour rewarded by a totally unreasonable pay-out.
‘PC Baillon’s behaviour was terrible to start with – but it is even worse that he has been given so much money.’
PC Baillon was one of two officers who pursued retired businessman Mr Whatley along country roads near Usk, South Wales, in 2009. The stroke victim was stopped for not wearing a seatbelt and drove away before officers finished speaking to him. They chased him for 17 minutes, then pulled over his £60,000 black car again.
Mr Whatley said he expected a knock on his window but instead PC Baillon attacked it with a metal baton while his colleague jumped on the bonnet and kicked through the windscreen. The police car’s dashboard camera showed PC Baillon running up to the driver’s door and smashing the window.
The officers were cleared of misconduct after an internal inquiry, but PC Baillon was removed from frontline duties because his mental state could have affected him in high-speed chases, a tribunal heard.
The Cardiff employment tribunal was told colleagues often brought up what became known as the ‘Whatley incident’.
Once, after police had to smash a suspect’s door down, a colleague told him: ‘It wasn’t a window.’
Mr Baillon told the tribunal his locker was defaced and he became a ‘laughing stock’ before taking sick leave and complaining to Gwent Police Authority.
The former traffic officer said: ‘Ridicule from colleagues was getting to me – it was every single day. They thought I had done wrong and I was lucky to have got away with it. I just wanted my closure.’
The tribunal heard he could have won £750,000 from his seven claims, including personal injury, injury to feelings and aggravating damages, but only one was upheld.
Mr Baillon, who has since set up a business selling wooden reindeer, was awarded almost £440,000 for loss of pension and earnings. The tax-free payment is the equivalent of 12 years’ salary for a PC on the highest basic pay of £36,519.
His solicitor criticised the Gwent force for ‘removing him from the job he loved’ in a ‘gross abuse of power’. Nick Smith said he ‘hung on for grim death’ but finally ‘snapped’ and quit.
He added: ‘We’re talking about a man who would have made sergeant. This was a man who had been wounded to his core by how he had been treated by his employers. What has made that worse is the disingenuous way the force has defended their actions.’
Mr Baillon, who served with Gwent for 16 years, said: ‘I would rather be driving police cars but I couldn’t accept the treatment.’
Mr Whatley was awarded £20,000 for the damage to his Range Rover, and ordered to pay £235 for speeding and failing to stop for police.
The payment is the latest huge police compensation claim. One Suffolk officer received more than £13,000 after hurting his big toe during safety training.
Norfolk PC Kelly Jones threatened to sue a garage owner after tripping over a kerb, but dropped her claim after a national outcry.
Home Secretary Theresa May has criticised ‘frivolous’ claims which she has said do not show ‘the sort of attitude’ officers should have.
But Tory MP David Davies, whose Monmouth constituency covers the scene of the incident, said that senior officers were to blame.
He said: ‘I don’t like to see big pay-outs of this kind, I think the whole thing should have been dealt with better by the police force.
‘There’s no doubt in my mind PC Baillon was unfairly treated and he should have been exonerated quicker. He was a good police officer and it was a shame he had to leave his job.
‘He was chasing after a vehicle which had refused to stop and he had every reason to think this was suspicious.’
Gwent Police said in a statement that it was disappointed with the outcome of the case.
Watch the full video here: http://www.exposedpolice.com/pc-mike-baillon-smashes-into-pensioners-car-in-line-for-six-figure-payout/
Read the full story at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2552186/Policeman-given-430-000-payout-humiliation-suffered-video-using-truncheon-smash-pensioners-window-went-viral-online.html