Case study: Devon and Cornwall - life changing injury

It only took a few seconds for DC Jo Sodergren’s life to change forever when she was injured on duty.

The Devon and Cornwall officer joined a patrol team at an incident where youths had been riding a stolen motorbike dangerously. She badly injured her hand, while trying to prevent a suspect from escaping, causing lasting damage.

“I put my hands on him to get him off the bike,” said DC Sodergren. “He took off with me hanging on. The momentum sent me flying to the floor.”

After three weeks the officer’s hand became swollen and she was in constant pain. Simple tasks like doing up her coat became impossible. An x-ray revealed a joint fracture that was causing her hand to be pulled apart under pressure. Irreparable damage had been caused to a tendon in her wrist. She developed the condition fibromyalgia.

The change of circumstances from able bodied to having a lifelong disability “messed with me completely”, said DC Sodgergren. Her attacker pleaded guilty to a number of offences and was given a hospital order, but the CPS decided not to prosecute him for assaulting a police officer.

Jo said: “I cried when I heard them say it was ‘not in the public interest to prosecute’. I wasn’t a police officer in that moment, I was a victim. The injustice of it was huge to me. Some seem to think being assaulted goes with the territory for police officers. That cannot be acceptable.”

Main page - Assaults: Protect The Protectors