We all understand that an employer has a duty to take all reasonable steps to ensure that their employees are safe at the workplace. We also understand that if you are running a business that you have a duty to take reasonable precautions to keep members of the public safe.
In most situations this is a fairly straightforward system to regulate and monitor. However, there are some situations when the lines become drastically blurred.
£20 million in compensation paid out to Police
It has recently been reported that Police officers have made over £20 million in personal injury related compensation claims over the last year.
The defining story of this revelation is that of PC Kelly Jones who is currently in the process of claiming against a petrol station owner who reported a break in at his property. After responding to the 999 call, PC Kelly Jones was carrying out an inspection of the property to ensure that the intruders were no longer on site when she tripped on a kerb. PC Kelly Jones recovered from her fall and completed the search.
In the weeks following the incident, Mr Jones received a letter from PC Kelly Jones’ solicitor informing him that she was taking legal action against him.
This claim was made completely independently of the Police and is a personal claim against Mr Jones and his business.
Whatever the outcome of this particular case, it highlights what must be going on across the country. This incident raises a number of important questions. Firstly, should members of the police force expect the same level of protection from business owners as the rest of the public, even if it is out of hours? Secondly, is there not a certain amount of accepted risk when you become a police officer? And lastly, if the police officer is on duty at the time, should the grievance not be taken up with their employer?
Unfortunately, it would seem that this negative press surrounding the case of PC Kelly Jones will cause a great deal of anger. Something clearly needs to be done to reinforce public support of the Police. Unless this happens soon, we may end up facing a situation where business owners actually choose to not phone the police when they are needed.