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Exeter girl, 10, among those attacked by Devon and Cornwall police dogs

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: February 20, 2014

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A 55-year-old man was attacked by a police dog which had been let off its lead by a handler when officers were arresting an offender in a Kingskerswell garden, it has been revealed today.

Data released has revealed there has been a total of six attacks on innocent members of the public by Devon and Cornwall police dogs since January 2009.

In another incident a 10-year-old girl was bitten on the arm in Exeter after a police dog became over excited. See the full list of incidents below:

At least 150 police dog attacks on innocent people have been reported in the past three years, the BBC investigation revealed.

Police forces in the UK said they handed out a total of £120,000 in compensation in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Devon and Cornwall Police declined to reveal how much compensation had been paid for each incident on grounds of "confidentiality".

A total of 48 police forces - 43 in England and Wales, Police Scotland, Police Northern Ireland and three national forces - were asked for details of police dog attacks on innocent bystanders in the past three calendar years and how much had been paid out in compensation.

Devon and Cornwall incidents :

Jan 2009. Exeter: Dog handler on foot patrol, dog became over excited and attempted to bite 10-year-old girl

Nov 2009. Liskeard: 31-year-old missing male ran from dog deployed to locate him. Bitten on the left arm

Jun 2011. Kingskerswell: 55-year-old male had been detained in victim’s garden. Dog was off lead and ran up to victim and bit him on the right arm

Dec 2011. North Devon: Handler on foot patrol with police dog assisting other officers regarding late night rowdyism. Complainant claimed the following day that the police dog had made contact with her and she had suffered bruising to her leg.

Feb 2012. Newquay: Dog was being exercised and got into a fight with another dog. The 55-year-old female owner of the other dog attempted to separate them and was bitten. Unknown if it was the police dog or the victim’s dog.

Jun 2012. Sidmouth: Police dog was tracking a violent offender. 19-year-old female victim surprised the dog at a road junction. Bitten on the Left buttock

A BBC investigation in 2011 revealed £770,000 had been paid out to people bitten by police dogs over a three-year period.

Assistant Chief Constable Gareth Wilson, from the National Association of Police Officers' (ACPO), told the BBC police dogs are trained to high standards to respond to a variety of situations.

"All general purpose dogs are licensed to operate and continually assessed so that should their behaviour fall below the required standard then their licence will be withdrawn," he said.

"Of the thousands of incidents which police dogs attend nationally, very few result in injuries to innocent people.

"Where this does occur the circumstances are investigated fully and compensation awarded where appropriate."

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  • al111966  |  February 20 2014, 4:39PM

    So thats 6 attacks by Police dogs in Devon and Cornwall in 5 years. Out of how many incidents in which Police dogs were used? I agree that ideally there would be no incident involving innocent people but that would mean no Police dogs at all. Why does the Express and Echo always portray the Police in a bad light? You could at least give all the facts and let people make their own 'balanced' decision. I for one think Police dogs do a fantastic job, there should be more of them!

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