Police officer bitten by flea gets £8k

Police officersA West Midlands police officer received an £8,000 compensation payment - after being bitten by a flea at work.

The officer in question made the claim after working in an infested police station. But his is far from the only claim.

In fact, shocking new figures reveal that West Midlands Police alone has paid out an incredible £900,000 in compensation to serving officers and civilian staff over the last three years.

The force paid out the jaw-dropping amount to just under 70 staff affected by a range of bizarre workplace injuries.

According to the Mirror, the claims included a £14,000 payout made to a member of staff who fell off a pushbike, a £600 payment to someone who was "exposed to a loud noise" and a further £7,000 that went to a worker who sustained injuries after falling off a chair.

Former West Midlands police officer Ray Egan, who retired from the force in 1993, told the newspaper he was shocked by the extent of the claims. "I was a policeman for almost 30 years and you never heard of anything like that in my day - there was never talk about it," he said.

"If I'd gone to my bosses and said 'I've been bitten by a flea' they would have told me to brush myself off and get on with it."

However, Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale, from West Midlands Police, said that all the compensation paid out was only done so after appropriate investigations had been made.

"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," he said.

West Midlands is not the only police force to have a shockingly high compensation bill, though.

According to Metro, some 2,000 police officers across the country received payouts totalling a massive £19.8 million last year.

And Home Secretary Theresa May is clearly concerned about the "claims culture" in our police forces.

She ordered an investigation into police compensation schemes after Norfolk WPC Kelly Jones, 33, sparked outrage by suing a garage owner because she had tripped over a kerb on a 999 call to his business.

"We don't want members of the public to feel that they can't ring 999 because they're worried a police officer might sue them as a result of something that happens when the police officer is there to look into the incident which has taken place," May said.

"There has been a case recently which has highlighted this and the question I am asking is: is that case symptomatic of a culture or is it simply a one off case and doesn't reflect what's actually happening?"

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