A police officer has started legal proceedings to recover loss of earnings after he fell into a drain whilst investigating a burglary.
PC Richard Seymour was attending a late-night break-in call at Maidenhead Aquatics in West Horsley, Surrey, when he allegedly suffered the injury. After the injury in March last year, PC Seymour says that he had to spend 4 months in a cast and although he was signed off work on full pay, is expected to be seeking up to £10,000 for loss of overtime.
Lawyers Slater & Gordon wrote to owner Stuart Lambley, stating: “Our client fell into an open downpipe drain which was not covered at the time. It was extremely dark and our client didn’t see the opening.”
Mr Lambley said that officers arrived before him when responding to the intruder alarm at the business, and that he did not see what happened to PC Seymour.
He said: “’I saw him attempt to climb over the fence to get in. I saw that PC Seymour was hobbling a bit. But he didn’t mention falling into a drain or a manhole.”
“If he wants to try to climb over a fence then that’s his business. The whole claim is ridiculous.”
Chief Constable Lynne Owens of the Surrey Police force said that they would investigate the claim, adding that most officers would “never consider making a private compensation claim against a victim of crime.”
In a joint statement with PC Seymour’s lawyers, the Police Federation responded to criticism of the claim, which follows just days after a WPC in Norfolk also began a £50,000 action after tripping over a kerb at a petrol station where she was attending a burglary.
The Federation said: ‘It is entirely wrong officers who sustain injuries through no fault of their own whilst trying to protect the public should be singled out in this way.”