What Claims Culture?
The Claims Culture is the name given to the phenomenon of people seeking compensation for every misfortune in life Some solicitors used to say where there’s blame there’s a claim and people think someone must be to blame for everything that goes wrong. Some see claiming as a source of income and make claims for things that never even happened. You could easily become a victim.
Surely the Police aren’t affected by of the Claims Culture?
I read an article over the Christmas holidays. (Am I really becoming so sad?). It looked at the amounts of compensation various police forces paid out last year to settle claims members of the public brought against them. These were for such things as wrongful arrest, breaches of human rights and use of excessive force. There were also simple accidents which occur in all activities. The article did not say how many people do not make claims who possibly could.
How do the Police respond to the Claims Culture?
The article showed that some forces tended to defend almost all claims, whilst others paid compensation in out-of-court settlements most of the time. It was not clear whether the writer thought he would justify one approach more than the other. I felt the Police were in a no-win situation. If they defended all claims, people could think it was an attempt to deny compensation to victims of injustice. However, if they pay too generously, people could think it was a waste of public money and an encouragement to people to seek compensation whether they deserved it or not.
How would I deal with the Claims Culture?
When I worked in local government, I tried to see if the incident in question was the result of negligence, i.e. carelessness, on the part of the authority. I tried to ensure we paid valid claims fairly but also tried to defend claims where I could see no negligence. It was a balancing act. Therefore, I have every sympathy with whoever does that job in a police authority and I do think the press and the public can be too hard on the police in this respect: I don’t want anyone to waste public money, but neither do I want to treat genuine victims unfairly. The police have a duty to the taxpayer and a duty to those they have wronged. Let’s be fair to them and hope they will be fair to the rest of us.
Or you could read my book on Risk Management. Load The Dice.