WHEN a Gloucestershire police dog escaped from the back of a van it injured a 10-year-old girl.
The girl, who was an innocent bystander, is one of the youngest of 150 people in the country to have been attacked by a police dog in the UK.
The force was responding to a BBC request under the Freedom of Information Act, which revealed that constabularies across the UK paid a total of £120,000 in compensation between 2011 and 2013 to innocent bystanders who had been attacked.
A Gloucestershire Constabulary spokesman said: “While an officer was responding to a fight involving a large group of people at Gloucester Docks, it's believed a member of the public opened the front door of a police van and allowed a police dog out.
“Subsequently a young girl reported the dog had hurt her leg. She was examined by a paramedic for any injury. The paramedic found what was described as a slight blemish to the skin. Her clothing had not been torn and her skin had not been broken.
“The girls' parents were spoken to and did not wish to make a complaint.
“As a result of the incident further safety measures were taken to ensure all police dogs are transported securely.”
Another boy of 10 was bitten by a police dog in the West Midlands.
Dog trainer Steve Pitcher of Krazy K9’s in Eastington said police dogs are trained to work.
“They are working dogs, they are not pets,” he said.
“They are highly trained - it’s not aggression, it’s ‘fun’.
“They are trained to have ‘fun’ on the end of an arm but they are not aggressive - if they were aggressive they would not be used.”
The BBC said 48 forces were asked about police dog attacks on innocent bystanders - 42 replied and revealed around 150 incidents, with around £120,000 paid out in compensation.
In Gloucestershire, police dog attacks on innocent bystanders are rare. An eight-year-old boy was bitten by a police dog during an open day at Barton Street police station in 2002.