Suffolk: Police forced to pay out £180,000 because of mistakes by officers behind the wheel

Suffolk police has spent �180,000 on compensation claims following car accidents in the last four ye

Suffolk police has spent �180,000 on compensation claims following car accidents in the last four years - Credit:

Mistakes by police officers behind the wheel have seen more than £180,000 paid out in compensation claims in less than four years.

Officers from Suffolk Constabulary have paid out for exactly 100 accidents between January 1, 2010 and October this year, ranging from nicking door mirrors through to crashing into someone’s bungalow.

The figures, revealed in a Freedom of Information request submitted by the EADT, show 35 incidents involved police vehicles damaging parked cars, including one where officers crashed in a car park.

However the number of accidents is reducing and the value of claims up to October this year is significantly less when compared to other years.

A spokesman from Suffolk Constabulary said: “We take road safety very seriously and this is a priority for us. However, sometimes despite the best efforts of officers and staff collisions do occur.

“Officers are trained to drive appropriately, but have to respond to emergency situations and also deal with criminals who may put others at risk through their driving behaviour.

“When, unfortunately, collisions do take place, each incident is reported to our driver training department to help avoid repetition. Any claim for compensation is reviewed and is dealt with as appropriate via the constabulary and their insurers.”

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The most expensive single payout came for an incident in July last year, after a car drove into a bungalow in Lowestoft when responding to a 999 call. The bungalow’s owners were given almost £30,000 compensation.

There have only been seven other incidents where more than £5,000 compensation has been awarded, most of which were rear-end shunts.

The more unusual accidents include police vehicles crashing into a caravan and an overhanging roof kiosk, which cost £5,915 and £96 respectively.