The financial fallout due to Metropolitan Police officers ramming down doors at wrong addresses to carry out police raids has come to light for the first time.
With officers having to get tough in smashing their way through to a potential suspect’s home many thousands of times a year, red-faced coppers have had to pay out hundreds of times each year for barging into the wrong address.
Official figures indicate that the Met was deluged with roughly a thousand claims each year from 2010-2012, receiving 1,109 claims of “wrongful forced entry” in 2010/2011. However, this figure decreased over the following years to 959 in 2011/2012 and finally 931 in 2012/2013.
But for an organisation like the Met, mistakes can still happen. The Met Police promise to pay for the boarding up of an address if they get the “incorrect address”, resulting in them agreeing to shell out over £250,000 each year for a series of mistakenly launched raids.
|Financial Year||False Entries (and Total Claims paid out on)||Amount Paid|
The findings have been disclosed by the Metropolitan Police after a Freedom of Information Request from LondonlovesBusiness.com.
London Assembly Member Jenny Jones, deputy chair of the Police and Crime Committee, said: “Inevitably, mistakes will happen occasionally, I am astonished that around 1,000 false entries happen every year.”
“Each mistake not only costs the Met, and therefore the public, money in compensation, but there is also the disruption and distress for the innocent person who has the police crashing into their home. It’s ridiculous that, each week, roughly seventeen completely innocent people have their doors smashed in by the police.”
Gill Barratt, vice chair of the Met Police Federation, which represents London police officers, said: “Police Officers make many thousands of forced entries every year, either under the power granted by a Court Warrant or under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, whether to effect an arrest or to establish the wellbeing of the occupant.
“The vast majority of these entries result in a positive outcome, however, occasionally officers get it wrong, and in these incidents it is right that compensation is paid. It is notable that the number of incidents of wrongful forced entry is falling year-on-year.
“Often decisions to enter a property are made in fast-moving situations where the officer has to balance the welfare of the occupant against damage caused. Whilst any damage is regrettable, the welfare of the occupant must always be paramount.”
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