Flea-bitten West Midlands Police officer gets £12k payout

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Image caption,
West Midlands Police said the flea bites occurred in "an office environment"

A police officer was awarded more than £12,000 in damages after being bitten by fleas at work, a Freedom of Information request revealed.

The payout, which also cost £4,185 in legal fees, was one of 14 claims settled by West Midlands Police in 2016/17 at a total cost of £61,131.30.

The officer was bitten in an office space at a police station.

The force said it has liability insurance which covers compensation claims made as a result of injury.

The request revealed the officer received £12,127 in damages while the case cost a further £4,185 in legal fees.

There were five other payouts in excess of £5,000, the request showed.

Of the other personal injury payouts, there were two for falls at work and two for what is described as "manual handling".

Medical evidence

Another constable was handed £7,274 in damages for defective equipment used while at work.

In a statement West Midlands Police said: "A police officer received a settlement after receiving a flea bite at work that resulted in emergency surgery.

"Compensation payouts are only made following the assessment of appropriate medical evidence by insurers and solicitors who then make a recommendation to the force as to what the pay-out should be.

"The force does have liability insurance in place which operates in respect of compensation claims made as a result of injury."

Tom Cuddeford, from West Midlands Police Federation, said compensation payouts "aren't flippantly made".

He added: "You don't get £12,000 for a simple flea bite. There's obviously a lot more involved in this incident.

"Everybody is entitled to work in a safe working environment and that goes for any employee... whoever they work [for]."

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