policeA Police Officer has received an £8,000 compensation payment after being bitten by a flea at work.

The West Midlands PC was handed the pay-out after colleagues had complained their station had become infested with the insects, and a freedom of information request revealed the force has paid out over £900,000 in the past year settling claims from more than 50 policemen.

According to reports, the claims include a £14,000 pay-out made to a member of staff who fell off a pushbike, a £600 payment to someone who was “exposed to a loud noise” and a further £7,000 that went to a worker who sustained injuries after falling off a chair.

Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale, from West Midlands Police, said that all the compensation paid out was only done so after appropriate investigations had been made.

He said:

“Compensation pay-outs are only made following the assessment of appropriate medical evidence by the in-house legal team, insurers and solicitors who then make a recommendation to the force as to what payment should be made, based on expert knowledge and published case law.”

Home Secretary, Theresa May, last week ordered an investigation into such payouts, amid nationwide concern that routine injury claims are damaging the reputation of the police.

This investigation comes in light of the news regarding WPC Kelly Jones, who caused public outrage and received criticism from her own Chief Constable for suing a garage owner after tripping over a kerb on a 999 call to his business.

Police Federation figures show that in total, just under 2,000 officers received payouts worth £19.8m last year and 6,600 officers shared £47.3m the previous three years.

Theresa May commented:

“We don’t want members of the public to feel that they can’t ring 999 because they’re worried a police officer might sue them as a result of something that happens when the police officer is there to look into the incident which has taken place.

“There has been a case recently which has highlighted this and the question I am asking is: is that case symptomatic of a culture or is it simply a one off case and doesn’t reflect what’s actually happening?”