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Whittaker v Soper, Court of Appeal

16 October 2001
The issues

Police Officers – Training Exercises – Were the Police Authority Negligent.

The facts

The Claimant brought an action for personal injuries against the Met. The Claimant was a Detective Constable who attended a Refresher Course in Arrest and Restraint Procedures. The Course took place in a room with a concrete floor. The Policemen paired off for the purposes of an exercise. Each pair was given a judo mat. In the course of the exercise, in which the Claimant was playing the role of non-policeman suspect, he was injured when he fell and landed on his left knee. He argued that two mats rather than one should have been provided which would have stopped him from falling onto the concrete floor. The Trial Judge disagreed.

The Claimant Appealed.

The decision

1. The Judge stated that he had to draw a balance between safety and realism.

2. That was not the basis however, on which he had actually decided the case.

3. The risk to Officers falling on the concrete was foreseeable. This was why one mat had been provided. It would not have been impossible or impractical to provide two mats, which would have been a reasonable response to the risk, which had already been seen.

Accordingly the appeal would be allowed.

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