On the 16th September the Daily Mail published the following article. Unlike the previous post I’ll be adding a link so you, the reader, can see what the title was originally, I’ll post screen shots below so if you don’t want to click the link and increase their revenue you don’t have to.
Lets dissect this a little, “Police Officers funniest injuries” (emphasis mine). The title has now however been changed, although the tab title remains the same. Some of the injuries sound either serious, or extremely painful including the officer who who was scalded by coffee after it was superheated in a microwave, the officer who was sustained a neck injury after a whiteboard fell on them and the officer who tore ligaments during training. It’s wonderful to see a national paper with a distribution of over 1,500,000 and a website which receives (as of May 2013) 8.2 million unique visitors a day laughing at injuries that would have resulted in hospital treatment, such a lack of basic humanity is appalling.
The article starts with a glaring error, that these are claims of any type. These are accident reports, any organisation with more than 10 employees is required by law to maintain records of all accidents that result in injury (no matter how minor). The records are not ‘claims’ nor ‘potential claims’ these are injuries that people would have suffered at work. So unless the officer who injured his back while switching on a computer has instructed a lawyer to seek damages this is not in any way a claim.
Yet again this article confuses accident reports with claims. There is nothing to suggest within the FOI request that these officers have sought damages from their employer yet the article continues to make this error that accident reports are claims.
The article then moves onto the well publicised incident involving PC Kelly Jones, who in the course of her duties sustained personal harm and was initially seeking compensation for this harm. There have been numerous articles deriding her for this course of action and the claim has since been dropped. I am aware that there is at least one Constabulary within the UK that allows officers and staff to use their compensation to repay the Constabulary for their sick leave therefore reducing the cost to the public purse.
We then move onto a quote from the Taxpayers Alliance. The Taxpayers Alliance appears to be an organisation funded by wealthy tory donors rather than a true grassroots organisation. Unfortunately, assuming Mr. Sinclair has been correctly quoted or had the correct information presented to him, he also falls into the same error that accident reports of claims of any type which we already know they are not. Mr, Sinclair states that some of these accidents are simply that: accidents. This is true, and the purpose of accident reports is so that employers can review what is happening and ensure their risk assessments are adequate to ensure that further accidents do not occur. While this process seems onerous it is right that individual Constabularies put into place processes that prevent accidents so that Officers and staff are not injured at work as this means the cost to the public purse is reduced.
It is worrying that the Mail, which is obliged to be fair and seek out both sides to a discussion, devotes so much time to this article yet only allows the Police Federation a single paragraph in response, I do not know how much the Federation sent as a reply however to not even give the common courtesy of naming the spokesperson speaks volumes.
Oh, and one other thing. PC Jones is not WPC Jones. The W was dropped years ago – the sex of an officer is in no way an indicator of their ability to perform and using titles that suggest otherwise is simply demeaning. The W harks back to the days when male officers of equivalent ranks outranked the female officers simply because of their sex and the W was a mark to show this.
Speaking of balance, a further negative response is then added by an unnamed retired officer and by an additional unnamed serving officer, with no further response in mitigation.
The remainder of the article then lists some of the injuries suffered by serving officers.
It worries me that there are continued attacks on the police, especially from a paper that derides the lack of respect for law and order within the UK. It is very odd that a paper can complain of a lack of respect yet humiliate officers in this way.
It is worth reminding people of some of the more serious injuries that officers receive. They are shot, stabbed time and time and time again, they are run over, headbutted and have their jaws fractured among other injuries. It is also worth noting that while the UK average sick leave is 6 days per person per year for the police it is 8. Considering the injuries they receive, the incidents they attend and the extended amount they spend driving – including at night (which are all risk factors for injuries) I would suggest the rate of absence is entirely acceptable. Articles such as the one above mock the police for no other reason than to ridicule them and attack them.