PSNI pays out £12 million to compensate officers for hearing loss

PSNI pays out £12 million to compensate officers for hearing loss

Almost 2,500 former officers were paid £12 million compensation for hearing loss by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The Police Federation said that the successful claims, which amounted to around £5,000 each, arose from the failure of the service to provide adequate ear protection during weapons training.

A spokesman for the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, stressed that police officers were no different from other employees injured at work. He added, “There were deficiencies in the ways in which officers were protected from damage to their hearing.

“The average amount of £4,969 reflects the damage that was inflicted on an individual’s hearing.

“These claims come forward because damage has been caused and all officers are awarded is what the courts deem to be appropriate settlements.”

The PSNI’s legal services branch issued a statement to underline that the claims had been properly dealt with: “Legal advice is provided by PSNI’s legal services branch, with advice sought from the Crown Solicitor’s Office and counsel, in appropriate cases. All PSNI use of funds is subject to internal and external oversight. In the event that a particular case raises issues of wider application, appropriate learning is applied in order to seek to avoid recurrence.”

A Freedom of Information request has established that 2,415 cases were settled between October 2013 and October 2015 at a cost of £11.9 million with thousands more cases in the pipeline.

Policing Board member and Sein Feinn MLA Gerry Kelly , queried the claim. He said: “There is a clear duty to deal with claims for compensation where people have had an injury on duty.

“However, there has been considerable public disquiet about the level of some claims, particularly the staggering level of hearing loss claims, which in many cases were being paid to people who were being compensated twice for the same injury, sustained by using the firing range without using ear protection.”

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