A police woman who is taking legal action against a petrol station owner after she tripped on a kerb answering a 999 call is also making a claim against her own force.
PC Kelly Jones is taking action against Norfolk Constabulary in relation to a patrol car crash. She was a passenger in a patrol car that skidded off the road and ended up on its side during a pursuit of a vehicle in January 2012.
The officer is already pursuing a claim against Steve Jones, the owner of Nuns’ Bridges Service Station in Thetford, Norfolk, for failing to ensure she was “reasonably safe” when she attended a suspected break-in last August, seven months after the crash.
A spokesman for Pattinson Brewer, the law firm representing PC Jones, confirmed she had suffered a knee injury in a road traffic collision while on duty and that “liability for that incident was admitted by Norfolk police constabulary”.
Norfolk’s deputy chief constable, Simon Bailey, said the vast majority of officers “would never consider making a compensation claim against a victim of crime”.
In a statement issued on Sunday, he said: “We recognise and understand this particular case has generated a great deal of public concern and we ourselves have received a large amount of correspondence.
“The vast majority of officers are proud of what they do and would never consider making a compensation claim against a victim of crime. It is important to us that this issue does not detract from the overwhelming and ongoing hard work and commitment to public protection by police officers both here in Norfolk and elsewhere across the country."
The Police Federation is funding PC Jones’ legal costs in the case against Steve Jones. The claim alleges that he was at fault for failing to ensure the officer was “reasonably safe”, making no attempt to light the area or warn her about the step when she went to the incident in August last year.
He told Forecourt Trader he was amazed by the claim, and added: “What next, will we have to put the fire out before we allow the Fire Brigade on the site?”
The federation said: “The role of a police officer is a challenging one which carries significant risk of injury. While we accept this risk is part of the job, it is only right that officers should have the same protection as any other employee or member of the public who may suffer injury.
“[The federation] has a duty to represent injured officers in any way it can, which includes providing details of a service that allows members access to legal advice on personal injury claims. Many officers find themselves unable to work through injury and will often pay for their own medical treatment so they can back into service as quickly as possible. Like any other employee, they should have the opportunity to recoup any loss of earnings, and the current system represents the only way of doing so."
Norfolk’s chief constable, Phil Gormley, has said he was disappointed about the matter, saying the claim did not represent the approach and attitude of the overwhelming majority of officers.