Ex-detective who hurt knee in prank sues police force for £500,000

A junior police detective who claims her career was ruined when she was injured in a prank by a senior officer is suing for £500,000 in compensation. 

Rebecca Jenkins, 33, fell and hurt her left knee as she retrieved her phone, which had been hidden by her sergeant in the ceiling of Grays police station, in Essex.

She told Central London county court that there was a “culture of pranking” at the station and that as a trainee detective and new arrival she was the target of practical jokes. 

Ms Jenkins said she joined in the “banter” and would “give as good as she got”, but her “dream job” as a detective was ruined when the joke by Sergeant Alan Blakesley ended in disaster. When her phone rang and she realised it was hidden in the void above the ceiling, she climbed onto a desk to retrieve it but slipped and hit her knee. 

Her barrister, Andy Roy, said Ms Jenkins suffered from depression, acute pain and an “adjustment disorder” after the incident in July 2012. 

She had to quit frontline police work and eventually lost her job with Essex police in October last year after eight years with the force, the court heard.

Ms Jenkins, from Wickford, Essex, conceded that Sgt Blakesley had played the joke to “raise the spirits of the team”, telling the court that the office pranks were “good-humoured”. 

“There were always tricks being played by team members on each other,” she said. However, her barrister argued that Ms Jenkins was “under pressure to conform” by joining in the “culture of practical joking” because she was a junior member of the team. 

Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh is fighting the compensation claim, disputing the extent of Ms Jenkins’s injuries and arguing that the sergeant carried out nothing more than a “good-hearted workplace prank”.

His barrister, Laura Johnson, claimed that Sgt Blakesley told her not to climb onto her desk and offered to retrieve the phone himself.

“It was obviously foolhardy to climb on the desk to remove the telephone,” she said. 

The hearing, in front of Judge Simon Freeland, continues.

Source : https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/exdetective-who-hurt-knee-in-prank-sues-police-force-for-500000-a3742326.html