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Widow’s Search For W M Police Colleagues After Husband Dies From Asbestos Exposure

Appeal For Help In Battle For Justice


The wife of a retired Birmingham police officer, who died from an aggressive asbestos related cancer, is hoping fellow officers may have vital clues which will help in her search for justice.

Frank Dodd from Kings Heath had been a serving policeman for more than 30 years. He died on 7 September 2009 at the age of 73 from the asbestos related cancer, mesothelioma.

Mr Dodd first began to suffer from symptoms of breathlessness, a troublesome cough and pain in his back in March 2009. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma on 14 July 2009 and died less than two months later. Mesothelioma is a cancer which affects the lining of the lung caused by exposure to lethal asbestos fibres that takes many years to develop after the exposure occurs.

In May 2010, HM Deputy Coroner for Birmingham Sarah Elaine Ormond-Walshe recorded a verdict that Mr Dodd had died as a result of an industrial illness.

Mr Dodd is known to have worked for West Midlands Police from 1956 when he joined what was then know as ‘Birmingham City Police Force.’ Initially he was stationed at Boardsley Green based on Coventry Road.

He then transferred to Duke Street, to traffic division, where he remained for four years. In 1970, he went to work at Digbeth Police Station and was then promoted to Inspector and transferred to Steelhouse Lane Police Station where he remained for around 3 years.

At the end of 1975, he moved to the Police driving school based first at Halesowen and later at Chelmsley Wood where he remained until his retirement from the police force in 1990.

Following the asbestos cancer diagnosis, his widow Mrs Frances Dodd is determined to fight for justice and has launched a search to find West Midlands Police workers who may be able to shed light on how her husband came into contact with asbestos.

She said: “My husband devoted his entire working life to the police force. We had been married for 50 years and have 2 daughters and a son who miss him terribly. His illness came as a huge shock to us as he’d always been a very fit and active man. To see him suffer so much in the last months of his life was very difficult.

Hayley Hill, a workplace illness expert with the Birmingham Office of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, who represents Mrs Dodd, said: “We know that Frank died from an industrial disease but now need to hear from fellow workers who can provide additional information.

“In particular we are keen to speak to anyone who worked at Steelhouse Police station in the 1970s as there are confirmed reports that there was asbestos present within the building during this period. We would also be keen to hear from anyone who can provide information regarding building work that went on in that building or any other buildings owned or used by West Midlands Police where Mr Dodd was stationed between 1956 and 1990.”

Anyone able to help can contact Hayley Hill at Irwin Mitchell on 0121 214 5407 or hayley.hill@irwinmitchell.com