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Sussex Police paid £500,000 in compensation claims in last three years
A police force has paid out half a |million pounds in compensation claims over the last three years.
Sussex Police handed out £499,044 in civil compensation claims from January 2010 to December 2012, including more than £120,000 for successful claims of assault and battery and £65,000 for false imprisonment, figures obtained by The Argus revealed.
It also stumped up nearly £40,000 in costs for damage to property and buildings, £22,600 for breaching the Human Rights Act and nearly £20,000 in personal injury claims from its staff.
Other successful claims include pay-outs for dog bites, loss of property, unlawful arrest and trespassing on property.
Civil rights campaigner John Catt, 88, of Shepherds Croft, Brighton, said he wasn’t surprised at the figures “considering his own experiences with the police”.
He said: “When I was arrested at the Smash EDO campaign to close down the Moulsecoomb arms factory, I was handcuffed and dragged backwards which caused some injury, but I never filed a compensation claim.
“The thing is they are so well equipped now with protection whereas people like me have nothing. They can even electrocute you if they feel it necessary.”
A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “Our Civil Claims Unit seeks to ensure that any claims made against the Chief Constable are dealt with fairly and professionally, but also to ensure that the public purse is protected from disproportionate, unreasonable and sometimes false claims.
“The unit successfully defends the majority of claims, and seen in the context of the 24-hour a day dynamic and unpredictable nature of police work, including the 35,000 arrests made annually, the number of claims paid out is relatively small.
“The minor claims for property damage arise largely from the police needing to enter premises to conduct searches for a variety of reasons, sometimes using force, where the damage is caused to doors and related property belonging to a third party who may not be present and is not responsible for any behaviour or obstruction by tenants.
“We accept that sometimes we get things wrong, and where we are able to establish that this is the case, we acknowledge this and make amends.”
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