Birmingham & Black Country

West Midlands Police injured on duty cost £589,000 in compensation and legal fees

Three officers who were hurt during personal safety training were among 26 injury claims by West Midlands Police staff that cost £589,000 in 2013/14.

The 26 successful claims for damages at the force cost £328,100 in compensation and £260,900 in legal costs.

They included one officer hurt by a colleague's baton as they tried to break a car window and one who fell from a faulty office chair.

The force said it took health and safety "extremely seriously".

Another officer was injured when a colleague opened a car door on them during a pursuit, a defective car park barrier injured one officer, while another's claim came after a trip in a "dark corridor".

Payments were also made for an asbestos-related disease and the stress caused to an officer exposed to HIV.

Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale said officers faced "dangerous situations on a daily basis" and the force had "robust liability insurance".

Accidents involving officers dropped by 7.5% in the past year, he added.

He said: "We are responsible for our employees when they are on duty and when we fall short of meeting that responsibility, they are entitled to protection under the law and seek redress through the courts.

"Compensation payouts are only made following the assessment of appropriate medical evidence by our legal team, insurers and solicitors, who then make a recommendation to the force as to what payment should be made."

The force has made £126m cuts since 2010, and is expected to make £23m savings in the current financial year.

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