Let us hope that the recently injured police constable, stabbed in the back several times while attempting to arrest a rape suspect, not only recovers quickly without any long-term physical or psychological after-affects but will not have the misfortune to come across the self-styled Medical Retirement Officer (MRO) of Merseyside Police.
This MRO, a retired Chief Inspector named Peter Owens, has often stabbed medically retired officers in the back by unlawfully reducing or removing their injury awards.
Parliament has long understood the reason why injury awards exist the way they do. Back in 1978 another injured officer from Liverpool was discussed in the House of Commons.
Mr. Anthony Steen (Liverpool, Wavertree):My principal task this afternoon is to consider the plight of one young policeman, which illustrates the problem well. It concerns ex-police constable Turner, who lives in Liverpool and who was living in my constituency.
In 1974, at the age of 25, after six years in the force, he was on duty in Liverpool, standing on the pavement, when he saw a stolen car being driven towards him, pursued by a police vehicle with a blue flashing light. He was about to throw his truncheon through the windscreen of the car when it swerved and drove right at him, mowing him down.
I ask the Minister to see established the principle that those who protect the public should not be penalised if injured in the course of duty when such duty involves danger to their own life
The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Dr. Shirley Summer-skill): A police pension is not reduced on account of any pay received from civilian employment. The combination of Mr. Turner’s salary in his new civilian post and the pension received from the police service meant that Mr. Turner suffered no loss of salary because of his changed circumstances.
And in the present day …
Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab): I am sure that the whole House will join me, my right hon. Friend the Member for Knowsley (Mr Howarth) and Jane Kennedy, the police and crime commissioner for Merseyside, in paying tribute to the police constable who was stabbed several times yesterday in the line of duty while trying to arrest a rape suspect in Huyton. We all wish him well and a speedy recovery.
The Prime Minister: First, may I join the right hon. Gentleman in paying tribute to the police constable who was stabbed in Knowsley? One of the events that I used to look forward to going to every year as Home Secretary was the Police Bravery Awards, because at that event we saw police officers who never knew, when they started their shift, what was going to happen to them. They run towards danger when other people would run away from it, and we owe them a great tribute and our gratitude
Mr George Howarth (Knowsley) (Lab): May I join my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, the Prime Minister and Jane Kennedy, the police and crime commissioner on Merseyside, in commending the tremendous bravery of the police officers involved in the stabbing incident in my constituency yesterday, who nevertheless apprehended the suspect? Will the Prime Minister acknowledge that, often in very dangerous circumstances, the police are being asked to do more and more with fewer and fewer resources?
The Prime Minister: I join the right hon. Gentleman in recognising once again the work of the individual police constable—[Interruption.] I apologise—the three police constables who apprehended the suspect while being under attack. As I said earlier, our police officers bravely go where others would not go in order to protect the public. They do so much in the line of duty and, for some, when they are off duty as well. They are prepared to go and face danger in order to protect us.
On the issue of resources, I remind the right hon. Gentleman that we have protected police budgets over the period of the comprehensive spending review settlement, in the face of a proposal from his Front Benchers that we should cut them by 5% to 10%.