A police officer was awarded £16,610 in compensation after he fell over a pile of BLANKETS while chasing a criminal, it emerged today.
Shocking figures revealed that cash-strapped Nottinghamshire Police has paid out almost £450,000 to settle claims over the last five years.
The force were faced with 43 successful claims for bizarre work injuries by officers and civilian staff between 2007 and 2012.
One member of staff pocketed £18,400 for injuring their back after falling off a CHAIR, while one employee got £8,130 after falling over photocopying paper.
Another worker received £10,615 when they were burnt by boiling water and another got £4,450 for slipping on an empty bottle in a car park.
Remarkably, there have also been six payouts for officers who have by bitten by the force’s own dogs.
One policeman received £17,826 for being bitten by a police pooch, while another got £8,050 and two other officers pocketed almost £3,500.
But the biggest payout was a staggering £43,000 for an employee who slipped on ice in a loading bay and injured their back.
Mark Spencer, Conservative MP for Sherwood, Notts., said the figures were evidence a “compensation culture” had spread to the force.
He said: “We have lost the plot in terms of what we think it is acceptable to claim for.
“We are inundated with ambulance-chasing adverts on TV for no-win no-fee services.
“If you slip on ice while you are at home you are a dozy twit – if you do it at work all of a sudden it’s someone else’s fault.”
Retired policeman Ray Egan, 75, blasted the payouts and said he was ‘surprised’ officers had become part of the compensation culture sweeping the nation.
Ray, who served with neighbouring West Midlands Police from 1967 to 1993, said: “It’s all to do with this claim culture, it’s like a disease and people are jumping on the bandwagon.
“I don’t know where it is going end.
“I’m surprised the blame culture has spread to the police force. But everybody else is jumping on board, so it’s just human nature.
“It’s costing the country a lot of money, it could be spent on policing and put to much better use.
“It’s crazy really. What we need back is the man on the beat, it’s become an endangered species.
“They can’t stop people claiming, it’s just going to go on and on. I’m just glad I’m retired and out of it.”
Paddy Tipping, Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire, added: “The force need to take a firm but fair line on this.
“Police officers when they join know they are taking on a demanding and dangerous role and know getting injured is a real possibility.
“But at the same time if the force has been negligent we need to satisfy that and pay a fair degree of compensation.”
The figures were published by the force following a Freedom of Information Act request.
In total £446,999 has been paid out by the force to injured officers and civilian staff.
Yesterday, Phil Matthews, chairman of the Nottinghamshire branch of the Police Federation, defended the right of officers to make claims.
He said: “You do not get thousands of pounds because you have tripped over something – you get it because you have suffered a serious injury.
“If you went to any other organisation that employed about 4,000 people over a number of sites and asked them how many claims had they had, I think we could fair quite well.
“This information does not give the details of what can be nasty, life-changing injuries.
“Our members should have the same rights as anyone in any other organisation.”
Malcolm Turner, deputy head of police legal services, said the force reviewed outstanding claims every month – with checks made by the Deputy Chief Constable.
He said: “While some incidents may apparently seem to be trivial, the consequences which might flow from them can, on occasion, be very significant.
“Claims are handled in-house and all are carefully scrutinised to ensure compensation is only paid in cases where that is appropriate and the amounts paid are in line with the guidance issued by the Judicial College.”
The Taxpayers’ Alliance yesterdaycriticised Nottinghamshire Police’s compensation figures.
Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the campaign group, said: “It’s unacceptable that Nottinghamshire taxpayers have been landed with a bill for hundreds of thousands of pounds to cover these compensations claims.
“People expect the police budget to be spent on catching criminals and keeping us safe, not settling compensation bills for accidents.
“In any case, many of these accidents will either have been nobody’s fault or could have been avoided with a bit of common sense.
“Policing is a difficult job that involves officers putting themselves at risk, but seemingly spurious claims by some are in danger of undermining the hard work of the majority of officers.”