According to new figures recently obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by BBC Radio 4, the Cheshire Constabulary has awarded more than £46,000 in personal injury compensation for dog bites over the past three years.
Police forces in the UK have had to pay out a combined £770,000 in total for personal injury claims tied to dog bites from working police dog units, the information also revealed. Forty three separate police forces supplied figures, said one personal injury solicitor legal expert.
More than 2,700 police suspects were found to have filed the claims according to the figures. Nearly 200 were from police staff that had been injured in a dog bite incident, while innocent members of the public accounted for a total of 155 dog bite claims.
One instance in which a thirteen year old schoolboy from Cheshire was given as an example of one of these latter claims. The schoolboy made a successful personal injury claim after being bitten on his back and was awarded £2,500 in damages. In another given example one police officer was awarded £2,000 in compensation after he received a minor injury to the soft tissue of his arm whilst engaged in a training exercise.
The Association of Chief Police Officers issued a statement via spokesperson concerning the issue, stating that police dogs were a valuable and essential resource to many police forces. The spokesperson also said that despite this working with police dogs can also bring with it several unique challenges as well.
The spokesperson added that the police dog working group of the ACPO constantly attempts to implement improvements into both the training of dogs and their management and deployment as well. He concluded by stating that the goal was to maintain professional standards at a high level.