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Page last updated at 11:01 GMT, Monday, 12 October 2009 12:01 UK
How to care for a police dog bite
Inspector Luke Russel holding one of the cards, next to a police dog

Leicestershire Constabulary are handing out laminated cards to suspects who have been bitten by police dogs.

The cards explain how to clean a wound, lists symptoms of complications, and encourages the injured individual to seek medical advice.

The idea came from the head of the force's dog section, Inspector Luke Russell, who wanted to highlight the risk of infection.

Medical professionals were consulted during the creation of the cards.

Being responsible

The dog section train their dogs to bite suspects in certain circumstances and say they want to be ethical in how they deal with the repercussions.

The laminated card
Part of our aftercare is making sure that if we have done something wrong it's been completely candid and frank about that
Insp Luke Russell, Leicestershire Police

The cards are headed with 'IMPORTANT', repeated in a number of different languages. Suspects who are unable to understand the rest of the cards are given access to a translator.

In the last year dog handlers have attended around 7,500 incidents across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, with 37 incidents of dog bites.

These include bites during training and fighting between police dogs whilst exercising. Suspects or offenders received 22 of the bites, with seven accidents, three against members of the public.

Insp Russell believes that cards are not an admission of guilt on the part of the police.

"I don't feel this as figuring with the compensation culture, this is being professional in what we do."

Sharing advice

He is not aware of anyone attempting to sue Leicestershire Police because of a dog bite.

"Part of our aftercare is making sure that if we have done something wrong it's been completely candid and frank about that and apologising and ensuring that we do our best for that person."

The laminated cards have already been adopted by the rest of the East Midlands and are being introduced to other regions across the UK.

"Our clinical aftercare will now form part of the new national manual guidance so this probably sets the standard, or certainly the tone about how we use force, how we use the police dogs in this area of our business."



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