The Good Funeral Guide Blog

Cash for crash

Monday, 14 October 2013

Cash payments

 

Suffolk police have come under fire for their practice of awarding cash payments to officers who have to deal with exceptionally difficult or distressing incidents — a particularly horrible road crash, for example or, in the words of the Police and Crime Commissioner, “picking up charred remains of bodies from house fires and picking up decomposed bodies out of rivers with their own hands.” Traumatic circumstances like these may qualify a policeman for a cash payment of £50-£500. “These are over-and-above, additional tasks that no amount of training can prepare officers for.”

The Taxpayers’ Alliance describes the payments as “macabre” and says: “it is vital that the right support is in place, but throwing bonuses at the problem is not the solution.”

The Ipswich Star records that ambulance staff and firefighters are not eligible for such payments. 

The bonuses are, of course, a charge on the taxpayer. The process whereby trauma is mitigated by a wodge of cash is not explained.

How would it be if funeral directors were to start charging extra for ‘distressing’ removals, and adding the charges to their clients’ bills? 

Story in the Ipswich Star here. Hat-tip to GMT

 

8 comments on “Cash for crash

  1. Thursday 17th October 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Some of our most cheerful encounters with the emergency services have been at the scene of horrid railway deaths. It’s definitely a coping mechanism!

  2. Quokkagirl

    Thursday 17th October 2013 at 7:10 am

    Of course, that first line should have read distressing and/ or stressful. Apologies for inventing a new word…but it is only 7am.

  3. Quokkagirl

    Thursday 17th October 2013 at 7:08 am

    Cash payments for distressful incident involvement? What did the police officers think they’d joined the job for?

    Getting involved (hands on) does affect the continuity of the incident of course – the fewer hands touch the body, the fewer mistakes are made and the fewer queries can arise.

    My former life in the Transport Police involved many early morning sojourns along the railway tracks looking for remains of overnight suicides – mostly we would find that which the foxes had rejected. It never occurred to me that this was over and above what I should be doing. And where’s the cut off point? So there are nice’ road traffic accidents and ‘traumatic’ ones? What constitutes a trauma to one person isn’t necessarily the same for another. Life and its messy bits are what being in these jobs involves. As my old inspector used to say, ‘If you can’t take a joke, you shouldn’t have joined.’

    So, grow a pair and get a grip, you pink-housed, Suffolk softies.

    .

    However,

  4. Wednesday 16th October 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Paul – this has been my experience of the police at gruesome scenes of death.

    Often they would let you know (from the comfort of their nice warm panda car) that you were ‘mad to be going in there’ and removing that one.

    Ho hum. Who’d be a funeral director.

  5. Paul Asher

    Wednesday 16th October 2013 at 2:09 pm

    In most situations as described above, the police don’t even touch a body. I worked for the coroners removal team for years, and the police wouldn’t even touch a body that had died at home in a caring environment, let alone a decomposed one. I recall being called at all hours of the day or night, only to find the police sitting in their car, until we arrived. I was up to us to check for personal effects and to handle the body. Extra payment, you are havng a laugh.

  6. Monday 14th October 2013 at 9:57 pm

    I can think of a lot worse ways for the police to use our money. At least they recognise that it’s traumatic. I’d be more worried if they said we don’t care, it’s all in a day’s work.
    As for funeral directors: I do think that some of the problems families have with some of the worst ones are down to the way staff end up defending themselves against the distress by being bureaucratic & uncaring (cf some underpaid care assistants, etc). A bit more acknowledgment of the stress might help.

  7. Monday 14th October 2013 at 9:52 pm

    I wouldn’t put it past some (nameless) big business funeral firms accountants reading this story and adding a ‘staff distress’ charge to bills. It seems they are always on the hunt for new sources of revenue.

    Mind you, I did track down the postman who discovered a close relatives body in unpleasant circumstances. I heard his story, told him what I could about the circumstances and paid for him to take his wife out to dinner.

  8. Chris the trainee

    Monday 14th October 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Having been on the end of several incidents such as have been described ( in my previous police life) I can say that a cash bonus would have been lovely support. Take the family out, forget about the body . Smashing. A practical support ( and more support than police officers used to get)
    As for funeral directors, I can only imagine theirs is sometimes a gruesomely horrible job. A job unwanted and unsung. I couldn’t do it and I wouldn’t begrudge anyone a bit extra if it relieves their tension.

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