NORTHUMBRIA Police have paid out more than £200,000 in compensation claims made by its own officers and staff since 2015.

Information obtained by Newsquest’s Data Investigations Unit highlighted that between 2015 and 2019, 50 claims were made against the police force, relating to issues such as slips and trips, chair incidents, road traffic accidents and a training incident.

For those claims that were successful, Northumbria Police awarded a total of £71,127.75 to its employees, and spent £130,824.80 on legal fees.

Injury claims were made for incidents including burns and fractured and broken bones.

The total spent on compensation claims equated to the yearly salary of nine new officers.

Nationally, since 2015, UK forces and their insurers have paid out more than £20m to officers and staff – the equivalent of the first annual salary of more than 870 new officers.

While not all claims resulted in pay-outs, the total cost paid out between 2015 and 2019 in association with cases against the 37 forces which responded to the Freedom of Information request was made up of more than £18m in compensation and around £1.9m in legal costs.

Claims linked to the Metropolitan Police cost the most per force at £8.4m, but claims linked to Cleveland Police were more expensive when considered in terms of the cost per employee.

Clive Knight, the Police Federation’s health and safety lead, said 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.”

The federation is campaigning to raise awareness of the toll police work can have on mental health and wellbeing and is pushing for improved health and safety practices across all forces.

A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “The physical and mental wellbeing of our officers and staff is of the utmost importance.

“We do all we can to assess risk and protect our workforce. However, due to the nature of the role, officers can find themselves in situations that can result in injury.

“Rightly, there is a process which allows people to make claims, which are independently assessed, and compensation is paid where appropriate.

“As well as compensation, the force is committed to providing additional support that individuals may require.

“Incidents are also reviewed so any necessary changes can be made to procedures.”