A freedom of information request has revealed that the Greater Manchester Police (GMP), have paid out more than £180,000 in dog bite compensation over the last three years.
The amount paid by the GMP is the highest of any constabulary in the United Kingdom and is the result of forty seven complaints directed against the forces police dogs by members of the public, who claim they were bitten or wrongfully chased by the animals.
One of the dog bites inflicted during a pursuit, resulted in the victim being awarded £49,000 in damages.
The GMP’s Assistant Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, told the Manchester Evening News that he was pleased that many of the complaints had been resolved, adding that a high proportion of allegations had either been not proven, discontinued or eventually withdrawn.
He went on to say that police dogs were an invaluable resource to the force, especially during events such as demonstrations and large-scale football matches, which have a higher than usual threat of disorder and potential harm to the public.
Dogs also play a very important role in drug raids, incidents involving firearms and the tracking of other criminals such as burglars.
The GMP currently employs thirty six ‘general purpose’ dogs and twenty two specialised search dogs.