A police force has agreed to pay damages to a serving officer of Â£10,000 after the appeal court ruled that he had been supplied with unsuitable riding boots on the day he had a motorbike crash.
PC Robert Blair, a Sussex Police officer, broke his leg in May 2009 during an off-road training exercise.
He sued the force claiming that he should have been given motocross boots before the ride instead of classic clubman tourer boots, also known as Alt-berg boots.
The motocross boots would have helped prevent the injury, the ruling accepted, after an orthopaedic surgeon said they provided â€œenhanced protectionâ€.
â€œIt was possible to prevent significant injury to trainees by proving them with stronger boots than the Alt-berg boots and the chief constable is therefore liable.â€
PC Blairâ€™s case had initially failed at County Court level but the Court of Appeal reversed the decision on Tuesday (May 15)â€“ accepting his argument that the boots were contrary to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.
Sussex Police says it is now reviewing its policy over the PPE it provides its officers.
A statement said: â€œSussex Police respects the decision of the court.
â€œWe will be reviewing our policy regarding equipment issued to officers to see if any changes need making.â€
The ruling said the Chief Constable of Sussex Police, Martin Richards, was liable.
Lord Justice Longmore concluded: â€œIt was possible to prevent significant injury to trainees by proving them with stronger boots than the Alt-berg boots and the chief constable is therefore liable.
â€œI emphasise that this is not to say that the chief constable was in any way negligent at common law.â€
PC Blair, a trainee at the time, had successfully negotiated the first part of the track during the advanced motorcycle course.
But the second was heavily rutted, the court ruling said, and the ruts were full of water. While trying to change gear he lost control and the motorbike tilted.
PC Blair then lost control and fell over with the motorbike on top of his lower leg â€“ causing him to sustain the injury. He broke his ankle and his tibia.
Police motorcyclist is handed Â£10,000 after suing his force following training crash.