England

Devon and Cornwall Police pay out £940,000 compensation

Policeman
Image caption Devon and Cornwall Police said it "always defends spurious claims or those without merit"

Devon and Cornwall Police paid out almost £940,000 in compensation from 2010 to 2013, it has emerged.

The force paid out nearly £847,000 to the public, including £75,000 for assault by an officer.

Officers were paid about £91,300 over the same period for claims including injury from slipping or tripping.

The force, which faces cuts of £30m over the next four years, said it only made payments when ordered by a court "or where clearly liable".

In a statement, it added that it "always defends spurious claims or those without merit".

The figures, revealed in a freedom of information request, include one payment of £75,000 in 2010 to the victim of a police assault.

Other payments to the public included £47,000 for wrongful arrest, £7,800 for a bite by a police dog and £2,600 for harassment.

Devon and Cornwall Police payouts
To public To police officers
2010 £292,408 £47,036
2011 £144,466 £37,962
2012 £225,941 £5,046
2013 £183,774 £1,254

Police officers claimed payments from the force to cover incidents such as:

  • Damage to personal property whilst on duty
  • Defective equipment
  • Injury on duty from slipping or tripping
  • Work clothes damaged whilst on duty
  • Work clothes/boots contaminated whilst on duty

A force spokesman said: "The force endeavours to provide a consistently high quality service to protect the public purse but occasionally the force is liable and therefore payments have to be made relying on settled case law, which sets out what claims are worth.

"Wherever possible claims which cannot be defended are identified and early settlements negotiated to avoid paying unnecessarily high claimant legal costs.

"Once a claim has been concluded, the force will identify any lessons that can be learnt so that systems can be put in place to prevent the reoccurrence of any situation which may have undermined public confidence in the force."

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