Injury case paves way for police stress action

DOZENS of former police officers have received a boost in their pursuit of legal claims for stress-related depression suffered as a result of their job.

They are taking court action to secure increased pension entitlements following their enforced early retirement.

One solicitor alone has identified 30 actions brought by ex-policemen against forces across the country.

Their cases were strengthened by a ruling last week which recognised that depression suffered by a retired magistrates' court jailer constituted an “injury at work” within government regulations.

Constable Bob Pickering left Sussex Police after falling ill through years of confrontation and attacks from prisoners.

Judge John Gower, sitting at Lewes Crown Court, allowed the appeal against his former employer, Sussex Police Authority, and ordered it to pay costs.

Pickering's solicitor, David Franey, from the Manchester office of Russell Jones & Walker, says the case is an important signpost for at least 30 others he knows of.

“Pickering is a breakthrough at Crown Court level. It is very significant because it is the first recognition by the Crown Court that a stress-related illness constitutes an injury in the execution of duty.

“While the decision doesn't bind any other Crown Court, it does mean the same arguments of principal will be run in the same way in the other cases.”