The Government has a Criminal Injury Compensation scheme (CICA) whereby it will pay compensation to any person who has suffered injury (physical or mental) as a result of a criminal act. This is irrespective of whether anyone has been prosecuted for an offence.
Whom do you think suffers injury as a result of criminal acts more than any other section of society? Got it in one! Police Officers. Many see it as an occupational hazard, but if you fail to go home from work in one piece as a result of an assault you are just as entitled as anyone else to make a claim for compensation through the scheme. There may well be an application made through the courts for an offender to pay compensation, but the reality is that most of those who are ordered to pay never do so. The Government scheme will reduce any payment made by the amount paid through the courts but this is often an insignificant amount.
The minimum that the CICA scheme will pay in any case is £1,000, and in order to make a decision there is a strict tariff list which applies to each case and which divides claims into levels and likely amounts to be paid.
An important section of the scheme for police officers is that which deals with ‘exceptional risk’. The guidance specifically takes account of injury sustained accidentally by a person engaged in law enforcement activities including the apprehension of an offender. You don’t necessarily have to be assaulted to qualify for an award. An injury sustained in making an arrest may also qualify.
For the CICA to consider your application you must have been:
1. A victim of a crime of violence, or injured in some other way covered by the scheme.
2. Physically or mentally injured as a result.
3. In England, Scotland or Wales at the time when the injury was sustained.
4. Injured seriously enough to qualify for at least the minimum award (£1000).
5. A dependent or relative of a victim of a crime of violence who has since died.
Unless there are good reasons you should also:
6. Have reported the incident to the police as soon as possible after it happened.
7. Send your application so that that the CICA receive it within 2 years from the date of the incident casuing injury.
All officers making an application are strongly advised to contact the Federation, as we will be able to assist and can also provide free legal advice for anyone who has a claim turned down but feels there should have been an award. In appropriate cases this could also mean having free legal representation at a CICA appeal hearing.