NORTH Wales Police paid out thousands of pounds in compensation claims lodged by their own officers and staff in recent years, The Leader can reveal.

Information obtained by Newsquest’s Data Investigations Unit highlights numerous pay-outs and allegations – ranging from people falling off chairs to being injured by dogs whilst training.

In the past five years, UK forces and their insurers have paid out over £20m to officers and staff – the equivalent of the first annual salary of more than 870 new officers. During that period, a total of 24 claims have been submitted to the North Wales force by 18 officers and six members of police staff that paid out more than £44,000 in compensation.

In 2015, £8,500 was paid to a North Wales Police officer that had injured his back after falling from a broken chair.

In the following year of results, an officer claimed he had been left with injuries to his arm from a police dog whilst on a training exercise. The officer’s case against the force ended in September 2019 and resulted in a £3,250 pay-out.

In the same year, a female member of North Wales Police staff suffered injuries to her knee, back and ankle after tripping on a cable – claiming £7,335.90 in compensation from her employer.

The two incidents disclosed by the force in 2017 that resulted in compensation pay-outs amounted to more than £11,000. One incident involved a male officer who sustained a groin injury whilst attending an incident and another officer sustained a back injury whilst on duty.

In the final full year of disclosed incidents, a member of police staff claimed £5,300 after slipping on water and sustaining a knee injury. An officer also filed a claim for £5,244.16 after a hand injury during a training exercise.

A total of eight claims against North Wales Police are still awaiting conclusion – from as far back as 2016, the data reveals. These include two officers that were reportedly injured whilst on duty as well as two officers making claims for an alleged loss.

Head of facilities at North Wales Police, Stephen Roberts, said: “The wellbeing and welfare of our officers and staff is paramount. Due to the nature of policing, officers can find themselves in situations which may result in injury. We have processes which allow people to make claims and compensation is paid where appropriate. We also review the circumstances of incidents so we can make any necessary changes to our policies and procedures.”

The Police Federation has called on the Government and chief officers to do everything in their power to ensure the safety and welfare of officers at work after an investigation uncovered unsafe practices and dangerous incidents linked to forces across the country.

Clive Knight, the Police Federation’s health and safety lead, said that preventing injuries was in the interest of all officers, their colleagues and the public in order to “reduce absences on an already stretched service”.

He added: “The Government and chief officers must do all they can to ensure the physical and mental welfare of officers is protected to allow them to keep doing their jobs, serving the public to the best of their ability.

“The consequences for officers who suffer an injury on duty are wide-ranging. It can affect their ability to perform their required role, their personal life and in extreme cases it can even end their policing career. As well as physical injury, it is important to note that increasingly these cases focus on the psychological harm police officers can suffer as a result of their work.”

A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said: “Every day police officers and staff run towards danger and deal with numerous traumatic events whilst assisting the public. Chief officers take their duty to protect their workforce very seriously.

“Forces carry out risk assessments, offer training and work with staff associations to make sure our people are as safe as they can be and when a police officer or member of staff is injured at work, it’s vital they receive appropriate care, support and treatment.”