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Last Updated: Friday, 11 May 2007, 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK
Boy nets police dog bite payout
Police dogs in training
Sussex Police said its dog handling procedures had been updated
A boy bitten by a police dog during an incident in East Sussex was awarded 42,500 compensation, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

The payout has been criticised by the Sussex Police Federation, which said Bruce and his handler acted correctly during "an incident of disorder".

A 14-year-old - who was not arrested - had part of his ear bitten off in Brighton city centre in April 2002.

Police dog Bruce, a German Shepherd, was put down as a result.

The Freedom of Information request showed Sussex Police paid out the compensation in the 2005/06 financial year.

Brian Stockham, chairman of the Sussex Police Federation, said: "Our sympathies go to the young man who was involved, but we're somewhat concerned at the big settlement [which came] as a result of officers attending an incident of disorder that needed to be policed.

"The dog was set loose according to the standards and... as far as we're concerned the dog handler was acting correctly."

Brian Stockham
We lost a very valuable and much-loved police dog
Brian Stockham, Sussex Police Federation

Sussex Police said following the incident, on 6 April 2002, that the 14-year-old was chased by Bruce from Morley Street in Brighton.

He was bitten and underwent a six-hour operation to re-attach the lobe of his right ear.

He had allegedly ignored an order by a police officer to stop, but no criminal action was ultimately taken against the boy.

Bruce was destroyed following the incident.

Local newspaper readers in Brighton raised 600 for a plaque in his honour, while a bus in the city bore his name for a month in another tribute.

Mr Stockham said: "We lost a very valuable and much-loved police dog, and now we've lost 42,000 of funding which could have been used elsewhere.

"The handler concerned I'm sure still misses Bruce."

Sussex Police said its dog handling procedures had been reviewed and updated, with a comprehensive report necessary following every dog bite.

The force said bites were contentious if they were anywhere other than on the right arm, which police dogs are trained to aim for.


SEE ALSO
Police dog bites off ear lobe
08 Apr 02 |  England

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