Theresa May speaks out on Norfolk officer claims storm

Home Secretary Theresa May

Home Secretary Theresa May - Credit: PA

Home Secretary Theresa May said she did not want the public to feel they cannot ring 999 because they might be sued in the wake of a recent storm over a Norfolk officer.

Mrs May said she was trying to find out if the case of 33-year-old Kelly Jones - who is seeking payment from a garage owner after claiming she tripped while investigating a break-in - was 'symptomatic' of a claims culture among officers.

At a Home Affairs Select Committee today Mrs May, who said she would not comment on the detail of the Norfolk case, but said: 'I've initiated some work within the Home Office to look at the extent of this issue.'

'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?'

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PC Jones - became the centre of a 'compensation culture' debate after it emerged she was making a claim against Steve Jones, owner of the Nuns' Bridges filling station at Thetford, after she fell over a kerb.

Norfolk Chief Constable Phil Gormley did not support his officer's claim and police and crime commissioner for Norfolk Stephen Bett called for it to be withdrawn.

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PC Jones is also seeking damages from her own force following a car crash while on duty in South Norfolk.

PC Kelly Jones' lawyers issued a stout defence of her decision to sue the garage owner saying she required medical treatment and she was on sick leave for some six weeks.

Mrs May said figures relating to compensation claims were not held by the police force, but the police federation, who she would be working with on the issue.

She added in evidence to the select committee: 'There are a number of ways police could be provided with compensation - criminal injuries compensation for example, there is some insurance which is available to police.'

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