Alf for years has been uneasy about the increasing recruitment of women into the police, no matter how butch or beefy they might be. When push comes to shove, or arrest turns to fisticuffs, you need a bloke, and the bigger the better.
Mrs Grumble takes issue with him on this matter, accusing him of being sexist and saying she would liked to have been a cop but…
But Alf feels his opinion has been well and truly validated by the case of a lady plod in Britain who failed to lift her feet while plodding – not high enough to get above a bit of kerbing, anyway – and she tripped.
Now she has turned litigious, threatening to sue the poor bugger whose emergency call resulted in her being sent to the scene of her downfall to uphold law and order.
He is a bit of miffed about things, naturally.
The way things are shaping, he would be better off letting himself be robbed by criminals, because the lady plod will be claiming hefty damages from him.
The story is told here by the Mail on Sunday.
A policewoman who answered a midnight call to a suspected burglary is suing the man who dialled 999 – because she tripped over a kerbstone.
WPC Kelly Jones is seeking a potential five-figure payout after claiming the owner of a petrol station failed to keep her safe as she investigated the possible break-in.
Her claim that the 999 call exposed her to ‘an unnecessary risk of injury’ raises new questions about the extent of Britain’s compensation culture, and has wide-reaching implications for anyone who calls the emergency services to their property.
A copper bleating about an unnecessary risk of injury while doing her job?
What’s she going to do if crims start shooting at her – or does she think her readiness to sue for damages (assuming she survived a shootout) will deter them from taking a pot at her?
Whatever her reasoning, WPC Jones, 33, has hired a top firm of London solicitors that specialises in personal injury lawsuits.
Alf is delighted to find her health-and-safety antics have shocked British MPs.
They are reported to have branded the lawsuit ‘bizarre’.
Petrol station owner Steve Jones, understandably, is simply enraged by the WPC’s action against him. He says –
‘I am incredulous that I am being sued by a police officer whose duty is to protect the public.
‘How can anyone feel safe calling the cops if they size you up for compensation while they’re fighting crime?
‘Surely policing has elements of both public service and risk. Isn’t that what officers sign up for when they put on the uniform – chasing villains and keeping us safe?’
That’s pretty much the way Alf sees things.
But we live and learn, eh?
Steve Jones further said –
‘I thought nothing of it – other than she must have been a bit embarrassed – and I helped her up. Then we carried on with the search.’
He had put the incident out of his mind until he a three-page letter from WPC Jones’s lawyers arrived in this mail last week.
The document made a total of 11 allegations against him. Among them: he failed to turn the lights on or warn her of the kerb.
She says she injured her left leg and her right wrist in the fall. But the Mail on Sunday points out she was well enough to continue the search of the garage at the time.
Mr Jones is accused of ‘failing to ensure [WPC Jones] was reasonably safe in using the premises for which she was permitted/invited by you to be there’ and of a ‘failure to carry out any and/or adequate risk assessment’.
The letter concludes by saying the 999 call-out ‘exposed our client to an unnecessary risk of injury’.
Keith Vaz, chairman of Britain’s powerful Home Affairs Committee, is on the case.
He is demanding urgent Home Office guidelines on the issue.
He said: ‘This civil claim will have huge implications for every citizen if they call police out to their premises to help them in an emergency.
‘It is in the public interest to know where exactly people stand in circumstances like this. If there are going to be cases like this, then people will feel reluctant to call the police in case they are sued.
‘I do not think in such circumstances the public would feel they had a responsibility for health and safety issues, in the middle of the night while apparently facing danger.
‘It’s a bizarre case and we need some urgent guidelines from the Home Office.’
Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has chimed in, too, saying any successful lawsuit would ‘set an extraordinary precedent’.
He added: ‘I think most people would regard it as quite bizarre that an officer acting in the course of their duties would pursue a claim against a member of the public who has legitimately called them out.
‘It is preposterous to imagine that it is appropriate; it is the police doing the job they are employed to do.’
His thoughts have been echoed by the garage owner, whose business has previously been targeted by a professional gang of thieves.
He said: ‘If an officer can now sue you because they’ve tripped over on your property what does that mean for the average homeowner?
‘If you hear a burglar downstairs, do you have to nail down your stair carpet, close the windows and put the lights on before you dial 999?
‘This is the health and safety culture at work, the fallacy that someone is to blame for any and every accident and that compensation is free.’
Alf is bound to observe that if the picture of her on the Mail website is a good likeness, then WPC Jones is not a lass cut out for ballet.
There’s a fair chance that when she fell she might have done some damage to the kerbside.
Mr Jones should check it out and counter-sue.